In the heyday of Silver Linings Playbook, the performance of Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Lawrence) in the dance competition is largely. If they roll a 5 out of 10 or more, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) will get back double the money he lost on a football bet. At the same time, the competition can be Pat’s long-awaited opportunity to show his ex-wife Nikki (Brea Bee) that he’s changed and healed. The complicating factor is that Tiffany is in love with Pat, and she panics the moment she sees Nikki in the audience and realizes what’s at stake. When Pat finally manages to get her back on the dance floor and continue their routine, it is a tenuous victory. In a moment of cinematic bliss, they score exactly 5 and celebrate wildly to the utter amazement of the judges, but Tiffany still thinks Pat is about to leave her, so she leaves first. He runs after her. They clearly express their feelings and hug each other.
There is never a moment when Pat reassures Tiffany that she can dance without fear of what might happen. There is never a time when we see he made the decision to let Nikki go. The dance competition sequence is loud and messy, as are the emotional states of the characters during it; everything happens very quickly, with few traditional screenwriting graphic points. But that’s okay, because the previous 100 minutes of relationship between Pat and Tiffany have already convinced us that they go together. The only thing that matters, in the end, is Pat’s run after her, the “I love you”, the kiss. Narrative chaos doesn’t cloud their romance: it puts it front and center as the only thing strong and true enough to make perfect sense in their world.