Film Review: Smashed

Smashed is a performance driven piece spurred on by the theme of alcoholism, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead baring it all to provide a truthful look at this addiction.  At least I think so.

The truth is, I’ve never really had to deal with this disease, whether personally or seeing others go through it, so it is really hard to appreciate this representation.  I am assuming that it is an accurate portrayal of the path to getting sober, but in all honesty it seemed too easy.  She went to one meeting where she broke down while telling her story (which was probably Winstead’s best moment as the camera is unable to move from her face), but then next thing you know she is a month sober.  Aren’t there usually periods of withdrawal or something like that as we see with other addicts when they give something up?  I’m not saying it was always easy for her, but it did seem almost as if there was no struggle once she gave drinking up.

It is hard to watch Winstead and Aaron Paul (who plays her husband) lose themselves in the constant state of childish drunkenness because it is impossible not to be uncomfortable and embarrassed for them, especially considering the lies she gets buried under in order to hide a hangover early on in the film.  The problem is, when Winstead begins to feel the same way about herself as the audience does, her husband refuses to recognize his own problem.  Instead he watches on in horror as the woman he fell in love with slowly disappears.  Paul’s performance in his fight to keep her are just as tear-jerking as Winstead’s break down in the AA meeting, making it impossible to decide who is more deserving of our pity.

No matter the strength of the performances, watching Smashed reminded me of how I felt when I was the only sober person at college parties (I didn’t start drinking until I was 21.  Yes, I was a freak of nature).  For a while you can laugh at the stupidity of those around you, but it is impossible to really enjoy something that is so uncomfortable.

Final Grade: C+

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