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Laura Smiles (2005)

R | | Drama | 24 April 2005 (USA)
2:01 | Trailer
The story of a woman's attempt to reinvent her life after a tragedy. It takes years, but the dark, dormant emotions find their way to the surface and her life spirals out of control. When ... See full summary »


Jason Ruscio


Jason Ruscio
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Kip Pardue ... Chris
Ted Hartley ... Therapist
Petra Wright ... Laura
Mark Derwin ... Mark
Jonathan Silverman ... Paul
Stephen Sowan ... Billy
Scott Chernoff ... Emperor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cathie Filian Cathie Filian ... Waitress
Jack Fitz ... Accident Witness


The story of a woman's attempt to reinvent her life after a tragedy. It takes years, but the dark, dormant emotions find their way to the surface and her life spirals out of control. When all else fails, she runs to the only place that is safe...the past. Written by Jason Ruscio

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and brief violence | See all certifications »

User Reviews

Vivid Portrayal of Manic Depression
25 May 2005 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"Laura Smiles" is an alarmingly effective portrait of a woman's mental breakdown.

We are introduced to "Laura" at her happiest time, in a warm, loving relationship with her fiancé (a very appealing Kip Pardue) in the city, literally the love of her life. In flashbacks, we then see the sweet development of this relationship out of order as these moments become brightly lit and colored memories that desperately intrude on her later in life, as she becomes consumed with guilt and remorse over his fate.

These feelings start to overwhelm her current life as a wife and mother. As something inconsequential in what she calls her "suburban drudgery" triggers the past -- in the supermarket, cooking, cleaning, at a school play-- she acts out increasingly aberrantly to counteract the feelings they generate, especially when she can no longer distinguish past from present from dreams, recalling Blanche Du Bois.

While writer/director Jason Ruscio said in Q & A at the Tribeca Film Festival that he was inspired by the break-up of his relationship with the lead actress Petra Wright, the film is the most vivid portrayal I've seen of manic depression. Whereas depression is usually portrayed in films simplistically as catatonia, as in "Off the Map," here we see her acting out, in ways that ended up losing the audience's sympathy for her. She is also set up in contrast to the men around her who are sympathetic or understandable, including Jonathan Silverman as a grief-stricken lover who can keep in touch with reality. Nor do the therapy sessions make her more sympathetic, as she lies to the shrink and then, frighteningly, the therapy doesn't even help her.

It becomes as painful for the audience as for her to recall her earlier happy life as she seems to leave the present for it, like a Jack Finney time travel story.

This is a raw, bleak "Desperate Housewives" without the humor or satire.

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Release Date:

24 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sonrisa de Laura See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,065, 29 July 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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