Saturday, March 5, 2016
I SMILE BACK (2015)
Directed By: Adam Salky
Written By: Amy Koppelman & Paige Dylan
Cinematography By: Eric Lin
Editor: Tamara Meem
Cast: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, Thomas Sadoski, Terry Kinney, Chris Sarandon, Brian Koopelman, Oona Laurence
Laney Brooks does bad things. Married with kids, she takes the drugs she wants, sleeps with the men she wants, disappears when she wants. Now, with the destruction of her family looming, and temptation everywhere, Laney makes one last desperate attempt at redemption.
This is frankly a hard film to sit through, not necessarily for the filmmaking but the film itself deals with so much raw emotions and uncomfortable situations. Though is definitely worth watching.
The film is surprisingly opposite of the similar CLEAN AND SOBER. A film that One constantly comes to think of when it comes to rehab movies. In that film the main character goes to rehab only to save himself from a jam and never really thinks about staying off the drugs and booze. So it always looks like he won't make it or take it seriously then finds himself staying clean with an added love story. Though they film was more about the drama and levels of rehab.
Back to the point about this film. Which is about a woman who has it all it seems and isn't satisfied and as the movie progresses. We see how it affects her and her family. As well as giving us clues as to what might be the source of her breakdowns.
First and foremost Sarah Silverman gives a brave and penetrating literally naked performance emotionally thorough throughout. Really seems like she is putting herself through the ringer. A performance we have never seen her in a performance like this at least dramatically. Though this is a more deep and broad performance she has ever partaken in. Though similar to one she gave in the film TAKE THIS WALTZ in which she played a woman plagued by alcoholism, but it was more just a little more upbeat and a supporting role.
I have always been a fan of Sarah Silverman, ever since she had her small stint on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. I have already found her beautiful, smart, funny and talented but never quite found the right roles to really showcase her talents. I never could have thought of her for a role like this, but she totally transforms and stays believable. Here she is like a car in a demolition derby, who keeps smashing into things and savaging herself and keeps gong despite the damage.
Sarah Silverman definitely should have been an Oscar contender for best actress for this film. Even if just for the scene when she is reunited with her long absent father and his new child. Or the things she is asked to do on screen.
The introduction of her character and as she goes through her various problems throughout the film. It becomes more punishing, but you can't take your eyes off the screen and hope for the best.
It's a tricky role for well known comedians. When it comes to dramatic roles. As it is always questionable as to whether general audiences will accept them in the role and watch them, when not in a total comedic role and will they be believable in it, even if they got the role on merit. This is why I feel It is always surprising when a comedian is actually good and believable in a dramatic role. Seeming like they can do it all.
The film flies by so quick. It feels more realistic as there is no clear black and white. The more troubled or bad characters don't necessarily get punished, except for her. Though we feel sorry for her and all the good supportive characters seem to go through all the rough aftermath.
For instance her husband while understanding tries, but isn't exactly understanding or giving any help. He wants an instant fix, but is willing to try to wait to wait and take time, but more when it serves his purposes.
You have seen enough rehab movies, so you know what most likely will happen. So the film chooses to cut short the scenes in rehab.
The issues Dealt with in the film is not just addiction. Addiction is a result of more mental illness.
It's not just the performance. The whole film is devastating.
So not just a star role written around the actor or the screen personality of them. More a role that an actor takes just to show the depth of their range necessarily.
The film so disjointed and the scenes seem to go along, but are vaguely connected. not knowing or at least telling us how much time has passed. The film tries to keep up with Silverman's performance but seems to fail or continuously set up more hurdles for her to face. Almost like punishment and not letting her settle into new sobriety. She seems more to go cold turkey not only on drugs but also support and therapy. Which while I haven't gone through but Would seem to be heavily advised.
The film also is so punishing that there is no surprise other then the performance as you can see where things are going to go rather then. Let us be shocked
More hard hitting then the film CAKE. Which had Jennifer Aniston self medicating and self destructing. There seems to be no the usual attempts to redeem the character by the end or resolve the situations.
The film is not cookie cutter. Though not as decadent as it could be, but it is a great companion piece with films that have been previously mentioned as well as DOWNLOADING NANCY and SHERRYBABY