As Who Got The Role told you earlier today, Bradley Cooper, David O Russell, and Vice-President Joe Biden sat down yesterday to discuss a new legislation that parallels the Oscar nominated film, Silver Linings Playbook.
Cooper and Russell spent Thursday in Washington D.C. rallying for new mental healthcare legislation. The proposed legislation is part of a larger effort to reduce gun violence nationwide. As seen in The Hollywood Reporter, the duo met with VP Joe Biden to rally support for increased gun control. The VP even posted a picture of their meeting on Twitter. The Silver Linings Playbook pair then met with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow where they helped introduce the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act. The proposed bill would “expand access to federally qualified mental health centers and order the facilities to offer a standard range of services, including support for families and 24-hour crisis care.”
David O. Russell’s Oscar nominated film was inspired by his 11-year-old son who suffers from bipolar disorder. Silver Linings Playbook follows a young man (Cooper) with bipolar disorder and his struggle to overcome it. Along the way he meets a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) grappling mental health issues of her own. At a press conference for the film, Russell revealed “I did it for my son, so he could feel less stigmatized. When your son is 11 and he has a mood disorder and he tells you that he’s not so happy about this business called living, you would do anything for that child to turn it around.”
Russell isn’t stopping at an award winning film to educate the masses about mental illness. The director is continuing his crusade in Washington where votes in Congress have a bigger impact than Oscar votes.
When done correctly, movies are often unique and effective outlets for increasing national awareness of mental health illness. Films such as Silver Linings Playbook, A Beautiful Mind, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and Girl, Interrupted not only reveal the harsh and tragic realities of mental illness, but also the constant struggle of those trying to help – whether it be parents caring for their mentally ill child, or how an institution treats its patients. These movies have shed light on mental illness and helped instigate a constructive nationwide discussion.
It’s inspiring to see Russell and Cooper take their film beyond theaters and into the White House. Their political actions give me faith that the entertainment industry isn’t all bad after all.