Silver Linings Playbook: 5 Key Ways The Book Is Different From The Movie

Tell me if you’ve ever heard this one: the book is better than the movie. Usually, yes it is (though there are a few movies that are arguably better than the book), but there are also a few instances where I would say the book actually equals the movie. Often this happens when the movie is a pretty close adaptation of the novel, a la, The MartianWhere There is no country for old people. But sometimes the changes from the book to the movie are so good that you can enjoy either version of the story as well. This is the case with Silver Linings Playbookwhich is based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick.

Because let me tell you. I read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies. That said, Silver Linings Playbook is one of those rare stories where I can honestly say that I enjoyed both for totally different reasons, and also for the same reasons, since it’s essentially the same story. Now I’ve already compared the three film versions of I’m a legend, where I concluded that none of the movies were really right. (Maybe next I’m a legend the sequel might do just fine.) So, I’ll just say, it’s refreshing to talk about a movie that did well this time around.

Still, there are some MAJOR changes between the book and the movie, and I thought I’d address them here. None of them really hurt the movie, but all of them definitely give you a reason why you should also read the book if you absolutely love the movie. Oh and minor spoilers for the film and the novel below.

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Jennifer Lawrence’s character is much older in the book

Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat, is changed in the film version, but not much. In the book, his last name is Peoples rather than Solitano (he’s also not Italian in the book), and he also has traumatic brain injury in the book rather than bipolar disorder (I mean, he could also have bipolar disorder, but it’s not fully explained like in the movie). But Jennifer Lawrence’s character is VERY different in the novel than she is in the movie.

In the book, her character, Tiffany, is 39 years old, while in the film, the role was played by a 20 or 21-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. I know age is nothing more than a number, but it dramatically changes Tiffany’s character in the book. In the novel, we understand better why this woman, who also lost her husband like Tiffany in the film, had a harder time coping, because her loss occurred much longer ago.

His character definitely feels as broken as Pat does in this version. Their eventual romance seems even more realistic, due to their close ages, than that formed by Cooper and Lawrence, who, while great (I mean Lawrence won an Oscar for his performance), made me obliged to suspend my belief a little, whereas I did not have the same problem with the novel.

Bradley Cooper in the Silver Linings playbook

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

The story takes place in New Jersey in the book, not Pennsylvania.

As a Jersey boy myself who loves everything from Garden State (including New Jersey superheroes), I guess I just have to point out that the new version takes place in Collingswood, New Jersey and NOT Ridley Park, Pennsylvania as it is in the movie. But here’s why it’s interesting. Collingswood is south of New Jersey, and if you’re from that state, you know that North and South Jersey are like completely different states.

In North Jersey, where I’m from, we support the Yankees, Giants, Jets and Nets (we also call Taylor Ham “pork roll”). In other words, we’re pretty much New Yorkers. But in South Jersey, they might as well live in Pennsylvania as they root for the Eagles, Phillies and Sixers. All of this is lovingly alluded to in the novel, and it’s virtually absent from the film.

Yes, Pat loves the Eagles in both the book and the movie, but it’s only in the book that the distinction is made clear that South Jersey is NOT North Jersey.

Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

There is no game subplot in the book

Anyone who has seen the film can tell you that Robert De Niro is a revelation in this film. Sure, he’s had a substantial career before, most notably with his performances in Martin Scorsese films, but his Oscar-nominated turn as Pat’s father was heartfelt and funny, and totally worthy of the nod.

But, guess what. There is no gambling subplot in the novel, even though Pat Sr.’s gambling is a major plot point in the film. Yes, both Pat Seniors love the Eagles, but only the movie version has Pat Sr. betting on them. I think it’s mainly to give more to Robert De Niro’s character in the film. Honestly, I prefer this subplot. It definitely makes these scenes even more exciting (and funny).

Bradley Cooper looks in Silver Linings Playbook

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

The song that triggers Pat is different in the book

This one really hurts, because the song that triggers Pat in the movie is Stevie Wonder’s beautiful “My Cherie Amour.” I say it hurts because I love this song. Yeah, that’s a really interesting juxtaposition for a song that’s lovely for putting someone in a fit of rage, but did it really have to be this song?

In the book, it’s the much more appropriate (tells me) Kenny G who enrages Pat, because it’s the musician with the song who always triggers Pat’s anger. So really, it’s not a major difference, but it’s the one that made me sad in the movie, because again, “My Cherie Amour” is such a beautiful song.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

The ending of the book is quite different.

Alright, so while there have been some slight spoilers regarding the book and the movie so far, I think the endings of both are the one area where fans of either might be disagreeing about which is best. I’d say neither is better, and both fit the stories that are told to the end.

Actually, I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book for you because I think you should read it. But, since you’ve probably seen the movie, I’ll say that all of the game’s subplot I mentioned earlier doesn’t play anywhere in the story like it does in the movie’s dance competition. Pat’s ex-wife Nikki also doesn’t play in the ultimate climax like she does in the film, and Chris Tucker’s character Danny has a much larger role near the end of the book.

Again, I don’t think either version is necessarily better. Each work considering the rest of the story that preceded it. So read the book if you haven’t already! It’s really good!

Have you seen Silver Linings Playbook and read the book? For more news on the latest movies (like 2022 movie release dates), be sure to drop by here often.