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|Index||33 reviews in total|
This film was one of two real standouts for me at the Sundance Film
Festival 2012. Lead by two Oscar-worthy performances from Mary
Elizabeth Winstead (Kate) and Aaron Paul (Charlie), "Smashed"
accomplishes the impossible by addressing a very serious topic with
depth and sympathy and realism, while still finding time to make the
audience laugh hysterically now and then. Director James Ponsoldt and
his co-writer Susan Burke deserve high praise for pulling off that
feat. Additional kudos go to "Parks and Recreation's" Nick Offerman, as
the deadpan sad- sack co-worker who takes Kate to AA and starts her on
the road to sobriety. In a role that's the opposite of uber-confident
Ron Swanson, he's hilarious as the always-ill-at-ease Dave.
This is one of those rare movies that is just like life: sometimes very funny, sometimes very sad, but always real. I hope it gets the audience it deserves.
Writing as an alcoholic... I have 2 things to say about this film. The
first is that the learnt ability to 'deal' with life through alcohol
abuse, was entirely authentic... and the second is that the loss of
important relationships was inevitable with the life changes that
Writing as a film critic... that this taught me something about my own alcoholism... makes it an impressive film from my point of view. The inter-dependent relationship at the centre of this story is entirely real, as is it's eventual de-construction. Only a non-addict would see the interventions contained within the story as being sanctimonious or having some political agenda. This is not an argument... alcohol destroys lives.
The acting from the two 'leads' was excellent. The bigotry towards alcoholism was treated in a perfunctory way... but was still relevant to the story. Most of all... this film portrays the isolation felt by those who escape their entrapments. We all have to take giant steps in our lives... those steps rarely coincide with anyone else's. This film demonstrates that very well.
This was never going to be a film that excites the majority movie-goers...but for those that like films that can tell you something you didn't already know... it is well worth watching.
I am a recovering alcoholic, 23 years sober. Over the years, I've
developed somewhat of an obsession with films on this subject, always
looking for my own story. 'Smashed' is that film. Mary Elizabeth
Winstead captures the essence of the functional alcoholic perfectly.
Her character, Kate, is two people - the respected, enthusiastic
teacher by day and the out of control drunk by night. This can work for
a while, but there will always come a day when these two worlds
This movie hits that mark perfectly. Kate's recognition that she is an alcoholic is tough to watch, but so realistic. I knew I had a problem, but denied it until that one morning I woke up in my car and had flashes of memories from a crazy, chaotic night before. Like Kate, I went to AA that same day, and while I hated it at first, those people saved my life.
This movie is about redemption and loss. Getting sober isn't easy. Life continues and we are left to deal with the wreckage of our past. Those problems we ignored, suddenly explode in our faces. But we deal with them. 'Smashed' should be required viewing at rehab because it's real.
A young woman who works as an elementary school teacher confronts her problem with alcoholism. She is forced to deal with her problem after vomiting in front of her 1st grade class. The AA meetings lead to the usual difficulties of recovering alcoholics, regarding marriage and work. An outstanding performance by Mary Elizabeth-Winstead highlights this terrific drama, as she effectively portrays the travails of addiction without being overly dramatic, she realistically dives into this role, carrying the entire film. This movie avoids slow pacing, and really kept me engaged, with a likable lead character, and believable surrounding acquaintances and family members. This is certainly one of the finest films of the year.
SMASHED (dir. James Ponsoldt) Kate and Charlie are 'twenty-something' married alcoholics who live a boozy and carefree life in a working class section of Los Angeles. The problem is that when Kate hits bottom first they soon find themselves emotionally and psychologically at odds. Mary Elizabeth Winstead turns in a stunning performance as a winsome primary school teacher who realizes that alcohol has made her life unmanageable, but her new-found sobriety seems to have accentuated subliminal problems in her married and professional life. The film offers the uncommon insight that an alcoholic's last drink really only marks the beginning of the true struggle. SMASHED is a film of redemption that rings true. Worth A Look
The title SMASHED may make you think this is some lurid story about alcoholism but it's not. It's a very straightforward, sensitive treatment on the subject of addiction as seen through the eyes of an elementary schoolteacher, Hannah, beautifully played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in one of the best performances this year. Winstead is wonderfully authentic as a young woman whose excessive drinking begins to interfere with her job. She's someone we don't expect to find battling this kind of problem which makes the film all the more poignant. Her marriage to a rather shiftless man who spends his time drinking and cavorting with friends doesn't help. As we learn more about her past we begin to understand how she ended up in this relationship. The good supporting cast includes Aaron Paul as her husband, Charlie, who's even more oblivious than Hannah; Oscar winner Octavia Spencer adds some humor to the otherwise grim gospel of withdrawal and recovery; Megan Mullally is the principal of Hannah's school; Nick Offerman is a colleague who takes an interest in Hannah's troubles and Mary Kay Place is her mother who insists she can still mix a great Bloody Mary. The screenplay by director James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke is determined to avoid the melodramatic pitfalls and clichés of similar stories and purposely takes a lighthearted, sometimes comedic approach. SMASHED is an honest, contemporary look at the bad choices we make and impact they have on our lives.
"I don't think I can do this anymore, I think I need to slow down and I might need help." Kate (Winstead) is an elementary school teacher who loves her job. She is married to a man she loves. One day at school she throws up in class and the class asks if shes pregnant. What starts off as a little lie snowballs until she reveals the truth. Kate is an alcoholic. This is one of the best under the radar movies that I have seen in a long time. While not as intense as Flight was at showing the effects and struggles with addiction this is still a very well done and disturbing look at the problem. Winstead gives an amazing performance in this and deserves to be nominated or at the very least talked about. The movie is depressing and a little hard to watch but it really should be seen by a bigger audience then it will get. I know movies about addiction aren't at the top of everyone's list but this is a movie that I do recommend. Overall, a movie that is hard to watch in some parts but deserves to be seen by more people then will see it. I give it a high B+.
The movie itself is not really a big shouting message to tell people
what to do. And even Aaron Paul, whose character may seem one
dimensional does have things you'll discover about him. There are more
layers there and some need looking at them to see them. Nick Offerman
plays it almost silently, but has one completely over the top scene (a
scene with a follow-up joke that would fit in any other comedy too),
that still does not derail the movie.
But the main protagonist, our woman that we follow is what it's all about. And she delivers in a way that is very heartbreaking to watch. And very real too. Everyday problems and things that get out of hand. You may cringe here and there, but the movie is still able to affect you very deeply.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Whether it is us or one of the many people we know, it is hard for
anyone to say they have never been around someone who has gotten far
too drunk; someone that should have been cut off sooner than they were.
The mess that results can often times be humorous, while other times it
can become a concern. And if it is something that starts to control
your life, then it has become a sickness.
This is the subject of the film Smashed, the story of an alcoholic first grade teacher named Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Married to Charlie (Aaron Paul), Kate has grown up in a world of drinkers; her friends, her family, even strangers she has only just met all seem to live the same lifestyle as she does. But reality sets in when Kate gets to the limits of lying to the children in her class and waking up underneath a highway. Kate has a problem and it is affecting her life and those around her dramatically.
Deciding she needs to make a change, Kate finds her way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting through one of her co-workers, Dave (Nick Offerman). Finding she starts to like getting her life together an being sober, Kate continues on with AA through the support of Dave and her sponsor, Jenny (Octavia Spencer). The support she lacks is that of her husband, Charlie, who continues to drink and causes a struggle for Kate in her everyday living. With struggles in her home and work life, Kate realizes that becoming sober and stopping her urge to drink isn't even the strongest challenge in her life. The biggest struggle is mending and holding relationships with the people around her and finding a way to be an honest and good person in her own life.
As I mentioned earlier, drunken behavior is not something many of us are foreign to, whether it is ourselves or someone we have been around during a crazy night. This is important because it is how we judge many portions of this movie. Both Winstead and Paul have to act through multiple scenes where their character is belligerent. Knowing how a drunk would act, walk, and speak becomes an immediate factor, but it is something that both actors perform brilliantly. And this isn't as simple as being able to stumble around or slur words. Dramatic sequences involving violent arguments in a drunken state become the major conflicts in the film and the at ions and words that are said in these moments are the true colors of these characters. As it is said, what we say and do in our drunkest moments are often times our most honest.
But what is more important is those scenes in which Kate is sober or trying to talk to Charlie about their relationship. The raw emotion and power that Winstead displays is not only realistic and strong, it is some of the most powerful acting we have seen from an actress this year. While Winstead has been seen before in films such as Scott Pilgrim vs, the World, The Thing, Live Free or Die Hard, and Final Destination 3, Smashed is her coming out as a very serious and talented actress. She absolutely blew me away this movie and deserves recognition come award season.
To read the rest (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/smashed/
Pretty teacher Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and husband Charlie (Aaron Paul) are a young married couple who are also alcoholics. When Kate gets sick of waking up in strange places and peeing herself, she decides to quit drinking and get help. But, Kate faces an uphill battle as she gets resentment, not support, from her husband and to gain sobriety she may loose everything. What I liked most about this indie drama was that co-writer/ director James Ponsoldt avoids the melodramatics that usually come with films of this nature and guides his cast trough a real life situation and has them play real life people complete with quirks and all. And as for his cast, they all give good down to earth performances but, it is Winstead who owns the movie as the troubled young woman who wants to change the downward spiral of her life. She effectively portrays the frustration of her own behavior and then then hurt and anger when she tries to change her life and doesn't get the support she needs from those she cares about. Winstead shows chops that she hasn't yet had the opportunity to show and she gives a very real and effecting performance. True, I would like to have seen more of the relationship between Kate and her AA sponsor, Jenny (Octavia Spencer) and a subplot involving her vice principal, Dave (Nick Offerman), who has a crush on her and introduces her to his AA group, doesn't quite click but, this are minor points. Overall Smashed is a solid and heartfelt drama that doesn't preach yet, doesn't make light of it subject matter and gives a talented young actress a role she can really shine in. Recommended for those who are looking for a drama that's refreshingly un-Hollywood and want to see Winstead prove she's more then a pretty face.
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