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Presenting the NATO of CA/NV 2017 Scholarship Winners...

Brighter Sights

Throughout this wild journey called life, we continuously endure numerous hardships that test us beyond our greatest limits and capabilities. They take numerous forms such as rejection, loss, or failure and make us feel smaller than we could ever imagine. While these trials might bring us down, we must learn to put them behind us and look forward to a better and brighter future. In the film, Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell presents us with an inspiring story of a former history teacher with bipolar disorder, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who moves back in with his parents after losing his job, wife, and house following an incident that landed him in a psychiatric hospital for treatment. As Pat pushes to get his life together and earn his estranged wife back, he meets and befriends Tiffay Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a recent widow who too has a mental illness. Throughout the film, we see Pat, his father (Robert De Niro), and Tiffany grow closer together as they move past their overwhelming struggles and forward to happier lives. Silver Linings Playbook not only tells a beautiful story, but it also conveys a very powerful message that everyone in the world must hear: Our darkest times are only temporary, and it will always get better.

After viewing Silver Linings Playbook, I immediately fell in love with the heartwarming story driven by the devoted and emotional performances of Cooper, Lawrence, and De Niro. As a 22-year-old man with autism, the fair and non-stereotypical portrayals of individuals with mental illnesses delighted me as well. However, the awe-inspiring message of looking forward to the future rather than dwelling on the past moved me the most. While I had a very happy and easygoing childhood, I faced a variety of hardships including a devastating car accident, one-sided love, rejection from employers, and the unbearable loss of close family members during my adolescence. I initially struggled to cope with them, but I later began to see myself become a stronger person because of these trials. They not only taught me about the harsher side of life, but also how to put up with it. Though all hope seemed lost in some of these trying times, the light found its way back to me in the end. Seeing this happen for the characters in Silver Linings Playbook, from Pat and Tiffany finding happiness and love with one another, to Pat’s father fulfilling his dream of opening a restaurant after losing his job and nearly his fortune, further strengthened my belief in this worldview. In our lives, there will be struggles for us to face, but when they come our way, we will have a choice: We can either let them bring us down and get the best of us, or keep our heads up high and look forward to the future to come. Watching Pat overcome his unquestionably painful past convinced me that a light awaits us at the end of the tunnel, and that we should never let our previous difficulties tell us otherwise.

Silver Linings Playbook brilliantly reminds us that life might not always go how we want it to, but in the end, everything happens for a reason. All we need to do is just remain optimistic and patiently wait for what the future has in store for us. From watching Pat Solitano stay optimistic and ultimately find happiness after literally losing everything, I am now convinced that I can do the same and surmount any obstacle that stands in my way. Whether it is a disappointing rejection for a job long sought, or an upsetting breakup with our significant other, no trial which we will face in life cannot be overcome. The key to successfully rising above these uphill battles is all in how we choose to handle them. If we can learn to see past the issue we are tackling and look at its silver lining, we will not just move past it with ease, but we will also see ourselves in higher spirits too. Everyone must receive this important message, and no other film does a better job of so beautifully delivering it than Silver Linings Playbook, a truly phenomenal and uplifting work of art.

 

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