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7 Healthcast

'Silver Linings Playbook' shines light on mental health issues

UNDATED (WHDH) -- The film Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper as a man with bipolar disorder and it was inspired by the director's own experience with his son.

"Calm down crazy."

When Jennifer Lawrence's character said that to Bradley Cooper it takes him and the audience by surprise - they both play people who have severe emotional problems, you might not expect them call each other crazy.

But writer director David O. Russell uses honesty and humor to shine a unique light on emotional problems - a perspective born of his life with his son Matthew who has bipolar mood disorder.

"I put everything I learned with my son into this film... and that makes the actors put themselves into it... because they knew I had put myself into it," said Russell, writer and director of Silver Linings Playbook.

This may be one reason why it is the first film in 30 years to have actors nominated in all 4 categories.

David's son Matthew also gave an extraordinary if ironic performance in the movie.

"It was wonderful experience to have our son be someone who was outside the episodes looking in," said Russell.

While that may have given Matthew a new perspective Russell said the fact that Cooper and Lawrence's characters sometimes seemed like the most normal people in the movie also comes from what he learned from Matthew.

"I love people like him and the people I've met through him they have a very real quality about them... they are not pretentious and it ends up opening up everyone around them," said Russell.

Russell wants to open others up as well, seen when he sat on a panel trying to bring attention to the fact that mental illness is often neglected in this country.

"Unlike diabetes or heart disease people for some reason don't speak about this... there's a lot of stigmas about it so people don't talk about it," said Russell.

Silver Linings Playbook is changing that as Russell shows near the end of the film when Lawrence and Cooper get five out of ten in a dance contest; but celebrate.

"When you have challenges you know what it is like to win with a five," said Russell.

Russell, who also made The Fighter, said the family and friends that are so crucial to his characters survival and triumph come from his life with Matthew too.

"My son is really my silver lining... you would do anything for the ones you love you would do anything for them. The film also I think indicates that if someone understands you and accepts and loves you it can make a world of difference," said Russell.