This film was one of two real standouts for me at the Sundance Film Festival 2012. Lead by two Oscar-worthy performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead Kate and Aaron Paul Charlie , "Smashed" accomplishes the impossible by addressing a very serious topic with depth and sympathy and realism, while still finding time to make the audience laugh hysterically now and then. Director James Ponsoldt and his co-writer Susan Burke deserve high praise for pulling off that feat. Additional kudos go to "Parks and Recreation's" Nick Offerman, as the deadpan sad- sack co-worker who <more>
takes Kate to AA and starts her on the road to sobriety. In a role that's the opposite of uber-confident Ron Swanson, he's hilarious as the always-ill-at-ease Dave.This is one of those rare movies that is just like life: sometimes very funny, sometimes very sad, but always real. I hope it gets the audience it deserves.
A young woman who works as an elementary school teacher confronts her problem with alcoholism. She is forced to deal with her problem after vomiting in front of her 1st grade class. The AA meetings lead to the usual difficulties of recovering alcoholics, regarding marriage and work. An outstanding performance by Mary Elizabeth-Winstead highlights this terrific drama, as she effectively portrays the travails of addiction without being overly dramatic, she realistically dives into this role, carrying the entire film. This movie avoids slow pacing, and really kept me engaged, with a likable lead <more>
character, and believable surrounding acquaintances and family members. This is certainly one of the finest films of the year.
Great flick, refracted view of AA (by donaldnpowell)
Great movie. Please go see this film: a gut wrenching, oddly funny, realistic view of alcoholism, its denial features, plus the struggles and triumphs of early recovery.The film is a good but not a complete view of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a caricature to compel the lesson. Among a few things casting AA in a refracted light, the dialog about AA omits the central theme of being helpful to others.Oscar worthy screen play and acting with a magnificent and vital ending! The sober lead stays sober, her life is better, she has matured to dealing with her feelings and her relationships. But the <more>
active drinker: a flicker of hope and a guarantee of misery.
I think Smashed starts off pretty rough, and the first ten minutes or so don't really have much of an impact. But the film manages to hit its emotional levels pretty hard from then on, and the characters become some truly fascinating and heartbreaking people to watch. I've never really seen Mary Elizabeth Winstead do any worthy acting. Not that she's bad, but I had no idea she was capable of doing what she does here. Of course, it didn't come as a surprise after waiting months for it because of the hype built around her performance. I found some of her drunk moments <more>
unconvincing though. Not all, but a few didn't work for me. But even with those flaws, she gives one of the best leading female turns of 2012, and her AA meeting scenes are brilliant, especially her first AA introduction. That scene alone is worth several nominations. Being a huge fan of Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad, I don't think this role was anything out of the ordinary for him, but boy does he make an impact. I'm surprised that he's actually on Winstead's level in several of their scenes together, and they play off each other brilliantly. Spencer also did some fine work, nice to see her here. I found Nick Offerman unconvincing though, and didn't buy him at all.Overall, very well acted, really good film.
SMASHED dir. James Ponsoldt Kate and Charlie are 'twenty-something' married alcoholics who live a boozy and carefree life in a working class section of Los Angeles. The problem is that when Kate hits bottom first they soon find themselves emotionally and psychologically at odds. Mary Elizabeth Winstead turns in a stunning performance as a winsome primary school teacher who realizes that alcohol has made her life unmanageable, but her new-found sobriety seems to have accentuated subliminal problems in her married and professional life. The film offers the uncommon insight that an <more>
alcoholic's last drink really only marks the beginning of the true struggle. SMASHED is a film of redemption that rings true. Worth A Look
Smashed is a very unusual take on alcoholism: it's funny without becoming critical or irreverent, bleak but not overwhelmingly so, realistic and observant but not preachy or manipulative. It's so intimate that it's often uncomfortable to watch - during the most intense scenes there are barely any cuts, making for an immersive, almost awkwardly intrusive experience - but the grounded, winning cast bring light to it at its darkest moments. It's definitely the Winstead show, she has more than her fair share of extended close ups, monologues and Oscar clips and she nails it all. <more>
Her introduction at her first AA meeting exudes vulnerability and was so heartbreaking as I've never seen her like that before, and at other times she builds Kate on a foundation of humor and apathy that brings out the comedy in the movie'a sometimes ridiculous situations. The other actors do good work too, especially Aaron Paul who shares an easy chemistry with Winstead and does a wonderful job of shading a thinly written character - but the movie rests mostly on Winstead and she's more than capable of bearing the burden.What I liked and admired the most about it is how unblinking and thorough it is. A lot of movies about addiction tend to focus on just one aspect of the victim's/victims' life - how it's affecting their workplace, their friendships, their marriage, or their relationship with the self, etc. Not and - or. I expected the same from Smashed; the trailer at least suggested that the marriage would be the main focus. But surprisingly it was all-encompassing; we see Kate's entire life unraveling around her, and the writing and directing don't shy away from anything. I especially liked that Kate isn't painted as a victim, she makes her own choices and has to deal with her own consequences. It's not a pity party. People and life are cruel to her but you get the sense that she almost feels she deserves it. I don't know that I've seen such an objective and insightful movie in this "genre" since maybe Panic in Needle Park. I was also happy with the attention to detail regarding Kate's hygiene - Winstead looks dirty and gross for most of the movie and that's how it should be. I get tired of movies about women in tough situations who always look like they just walked out of a salon. Smashed seems destined to fly completely under the radar, which is a real shame - it's one of the unsung gems of the year so far with a stunningly good performance from Winstead and paints an exquisitely detailed portrait that leaves you feeling like you've learned something, like you understand, like you've gone through the journey along with her.
Writing as an alcoholic... I have 2 things to say about this film. The first is that the learnt ability to 'deal' with life through alcohol abuse, was entirely authentic... and the second is that the loss of important relationships was inevitable with the life changes that salvation demands.Writing as a film critic... that this taught me something about my own alcoholism... makes it an impressive film from my point of view. The inter-dependent relationship at the centre of this story is entirely real, as is it's eventual de-construction. Only a non-addict would see the <more>
interventions contained within the story as being sanctimonious or having some political agenda. This is not an argument... alcohol destroys lives.The acting from the two 'leads' was excellent. The bigotry towards alcoholism was treated in a perfunctory way... but was still relevant to the story. Most of all... this film portrays the isolation felt by those who escape their entrapments. We all have to take giant steps in our lives... those steps rarely coincide with anyone else's. This film demonstrates that very well.This was never going to be a film that excites the majority movie-goers...but for those that like films that can tell you something you didn't already know... it is well worth watching.
I am a recovering alcoholic, 23 years sober. Over the years, I've developed somewhat of an obsession with films on this subject, always looking for my own story. 'Smashed' is that film. Mary Elizabeth Winstead captures the essence of the functional alcoholic perfectly. Her character, Kate, is two people - the respected, enthusiastic teacher by day and the out of control drunk by night. This can work for a while, but there will always come a day when these two worlds literally collide.This movie hits that mark perfectly. Kate's recognition that she is an alcoholic is tough to <more>
watch, but so realistic. I knew I had a problem, but denied it until that one morning I woke up in my car and had flashes of memories from a crazy, chaotic night before. Like Kate, I went to AA that same day, and while I hated it at first, those people saved my life.This movie is about redemption and loss. Getting sober isn't easy. Life continues and we are left to deal with the wreckage of our past. Those problems we ignored, suddenly explode in our faces. But we deal with them. 'Smashed' should be required viewing at rehab because it's real.
Days Of Wine & Roses For A New Millennium (by georgep53)
The title SMASHED may make you think this is some lurid story about alcoholism but it's not. It's a very straightforward, sensitive treatment on the subject of addiction as seen through the eyes of an elementary schoolteacher, Hannah, beautifully played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in one of the best performances this year. Winstead is wonderfully authentic as a young woman whose excessive drinking begins to interfere with her job. She's someone we don't expect to find battling this kind of problem which makes the film all the more poignant. Her marriage to a rather shiftless <more>
man who spends his time drinking and cavorting with friends doesn't help. As we learn more about her past we begin to understand how she ended up in this relationship. The good supporting cast includes Aaron Paul as her husband, Charlie, who's even more oblivious than Hannah; Oscar winner Octavia Spencer adds some humor to the otherwise grim gospel of withdrawal and recovery; Megan Mullally is the principal of Hannah's school; Nick Offerman is a colleague who takes an interest in Hannah's troubles and Mary Kay Place is her mother who insists she can still mix a great Bloody Mary. The screenplay by director James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke is determined to avoid the melodramatic pitfalls and clichés of similar stories and purposely takes a lighthearted, sometimes comedic approach. SMASHED is an honest, contemporary look at the bad choices we make and impact they have on our lives.