Sundance Review: Smashed


Director:James Ponsoldt

Cast:Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Megan Mullally

Running Time:85 Minutes


is fun "¦ for some people. For others, drinking is a slippery slope that leads
them down a path of destruction. In James Ponsoldt's Smashed, teacher Kate is a member of the latter category.

The film chronicles the lives of a
young married couple that have a mutual love for alcohol, and lots of it. Kate
drinks because she's depressed. Her husband Charlie drinks because he's bored.  After a night of hard drugs and a
morning of throwing up in front of her students, Kate decides to slow things
down a bit.  With the assistance of
a fellow teacher she gets the help she needs to overcome her addiction"”with
only a few minor speed bumps along the way.            

entire cast is superb, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead is truly the star of the
show. Her raw performance captivated me from stat to finish. My only complaint
about the film is that it is difficult for me to side with a character whose
viewpoint of alcoholism as a disease rather than an addiction differs from my

In the film, Kate describes being
powerless to stop her addiction: "I just want to be able to have one beer
without it turning into twenty," Her ability to moderate isn't alcohol's fault.
 If it gets to the point where one
is abusing a substance, I feel that the fault lies with the user, not the
substance itself.

Thankfully Kate does eventually turn
her life around, but her husband continues down a path of self-destruction. The
pain and anxiety of having an alcoholic spouse while in recovery proves very
difficult for Kate, who is much younger than the others in her recovery group.  Smashed
is sad and heart wrenching as you watch a young couple struggle with things way
beyond their maturity level.  This
is a definite must-see for our generation; it is a captivating look and warning
to those who may indulge a little too often. 


About Rebecca Tafline


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