I Smile BackHD Closed Captioning
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About the Movie
Laney is an attractive, intelligent suburban wife and devoted mother of two adorable children. She has the perfect husband who plays basketball with the kids in the driveway, a pristine house, and a shiny SUV for carting the children to their next activity. However, just beneath the façade lie depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves. At the core of I Smile Back’s power is an indelible performance by Sarah Silverman, who reinvents herself as a dramatic actress in the career-defining, intensely layered, and heartbreaking role of Laney. Deftly directed by Adam Salky (Dare, 2009 Sundance Film Festival), I Smile Back is at times darkly humorous but also harrowing and unflinching as an authentic, humanizing portrait that offers no easy resolution for a damaged woman struggling to come to terms with herself.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 61
- Fresh: 32
- Rotten: 29
- Average Rating: 5.9/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: A wearying loop of slug-snort-crash that leaves Ms. Silverman out on a ledge and the audience with no way to reach her.
Fresh: If Silverman's going to bare her soul this nakedly, she deserves a better film to do it in.
Fresh: [Silverman is] fierce and unerring. No showing off; she just is. This is acting of the highest caliber.
Rotten: A movie that's constructed almost entirely of empty cliches about suburban ennui.
This film is not for the faint of heart. It is an unflinching look at mental illness and depression, and the struggles of someone who, despite the love they have for their family, cannot get a grip on their disease enough to just “be okay.”
Sarah Silverman adds herself to the list of great comedians who, with a stirring amount of commitment, show that they can also be a great actor. While I would argue that her show on Comedy Central was a good enough showcase for her range, despite its silliness, this dramatic turn is an example for those who cannot think outside of the boxes of “drama” and “comedy” that committing to a moment is really her strength.
Thanks to her, this movie is lifted to a level it may not have reached with someone else in the role. It is nice to see someone who, while reaching heights most comedians can only dream of, get a chance to showcase a different side of themselves and prove that it is not only the standard roll-call of greats that can star in a movie and make it better than its script.
That said, this script, in my opinion, was above average for a film of this caliber. I have seen many low budget indies with similar subject matter that felt completely hollow and served only as a recreation of actions of addicts and sufferers of mental illness.
This film really tried, and I believe succeeded, in showing the struggle of someone who is a victim to their disease. It is a complex and nuanced subject, and this film does its best, albeit somewhat self-consciously, to eschew cliches in favor of showing something real.
I wish the film had ended differently, and I don’t mean a happy ending, but it still felt slightly unbelievable. Ultimately, I forgave it due to the string of more believable moments that came before it.
If anything, this film should be seen to witness an actor deeply committing to a role. The camera rarely leaves Silverman's face, and there is never a moment when she lacks emotion, except to show the truly hollowed-out existence we can creep into when we lose all control.
Take a look.
Who knew that Sarah Silverman could put in this kind of performance? The movie overall is average but she totally makes it worth watching. She makes her character disturbing, tragic, yet empathetic. Maybe even Oscar worthy.
I Smile Back
Apple should not put movies like this on iTunes for $7. Waste of time and money.