David O. Russell Explains What Bradley Cooper Whispers at the End of 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Bradley Cooper David O. Russell AFI - P 2012
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Bradley Cooper David O. Russell AFI - P 2012

The Oscar-nominated director gives THR some insight into the pivotal -- and unheard -- discussion at the end of his acclaimed dramedy.

*Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen Silver Linings Playbook, this story may not be for you.

His estrangement from his wife, Nikki, is the driving -- or at least, activating -- force behind the violent, bipolar episodes that put Bradley Cooper's Pat in a mental hospital and then on the fringe of society in Silver Linings Playbook, and the bulk of director David O. Russell's hit dramedy features the misguided effort Pat puts into reuniting with the woman who left him.

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In the midst of his efforts, Pat ultimately falls for Tiffany, a young widower played by Jennifer Lawrence. When he finally -- and unexpectedly -- sees his ex-wife, he simply whispers something in her ear -- something that the audience cannot hear. In a discussion with THR at the National Board of Review Awards in Manhattan on Tuesday, Russell -- who was there to receive a screenwriting award -- said that he had an idea for what was said in that confidence.

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"I think it’s open to interpretation, but the intention of it is to say that the best way you can say goodbye to somebody is lovingly, from the best place of yourself, which doesn’t happen often enough in this world," he explained. "I think very often, when it’s time to say goodbye to each other, we choose to agitate or turn it into something else, because goodbyes can be too emotional. But no, he didn’t agitate, he said it in a very soulful way. I could tell you everything I think he said, but we’ll leave it up to [the audience]."

When pressed, Russell smiled and, perhaps jokingly, gave a nod to the NFL betting subplot that becomes so pivotal in the third act of the film.

"He asked her what the over/under was for the NFL that weekend," Russell offered. "That was the first thing he said."