After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
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Helena Bonham Carter
Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.'s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn't take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the "silver linings" in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. He finds there are certain instances where he doesn't cope well, however no less so ... Written by
At Veronica's dinner you see in the door behind Veronica the reflection of Pat. He's sitting backwards with his arms crossed. When the camera turns to Pat, he's sitting forward with fork and knife in his hands. See more »
Oh, she's a mess. You gotta be careful. She goes to a lot of therapy.
I go to a lot of therapy, Ronnie. What are you trying to say?
I'm just saying.
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I am bi-polar. I have been that way since I was a young man. I am approaching 60. I have been in treatment for many years. There have been relapses and time spent in hospitals. There have been good times. Before I received good treated, I left a trail of emotional, professional, and relational disaster behind me. It broke apart the lives of others as much as it did my own.
I did not know what to expect from this movie. It is a stunningly accurate trip into the mind of a BP sufferer. It shows the disease from the outside, too. It is amazing in its accuracy. The mood swings, the detachment from reality, the failure to learn from past errors are there. Here is a guy who has so messed up he is in the hospital. He is released into the custody of his parents. He improves himself physically yet cannot see what he has done, what he is now, and what the future portends with any sort of reality.
There are other situations in the film which mirror the BP life. There are job losses, broken relationships, unlimited optimism, anger, and a feeling that no one understands you. But he doesn't even understand himself. He thinks he is the only sane person around. He is in complete denial yet goes along with treatment just to get along with others.
The obsession with his estranged wife drives him. Everything he does is to make himself look desirable to her.
Then there is the hair trigger and the propensity toward violence which ultimately put him into the hospital. He has the belief that he sees with much more clarity than anyone else. There is also the hatred of medications and the belief that he doesn't need them.
Yet, there is hope. There is no miraculous cure. There is a negotiated peace between his illness and the way he must be to survive in the world.
The only thing I felt was missing was the crushing depression. But I understand that. Depression makes for lousy movies. The film is strictly about a manic life that wants to be better but cannot accept that he is badly off dead center normal.
If you are bi-polar and under control, see this film! If you live with or deal with a BP, see this movie. If you are untreated, you won't get it because BP clouds the mind.
My new wife and I went to see it. Up front I told her that I had this mental illness. She still married me. She is a health care worker with an understanding of illness and of treatment. After the film she asked me what I thought.
I told her that I was a bit frightened to tell her that the portrayal is spot on and that I had seen all of it before.
But like all bipolar sufferers, I wanted her to know that "I was never that bad." The truth is, I was....but we BP people don't handle reality all that well.
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