Brief Thoughts: Smashed

Smashed:  4 out of 5

So hopefully this will be the last of my 'brief thoughts' reviews for a while.  Here it goes - A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as Kate, an elementary school teacher who finds herself sinking lower and lower, reaching a point where she is forced to lie to her students and colleagues.  Because of this, Kate decides it is time to get sober, practically to the confusion of her husband, Charlie (Aaron Paul), who continues to get drunk with his friends.  Getting sober is of course not easy and Kate will find challenges involved in this process, but it will be a true challenge to realize the right direction of her life needs to be.

This movie was quite good.  What I liked about this movie is the way it handles an addiction story and strips it bare of pronounced melodrama.  There are of course elements of drama that you tend to find in stories about addiction, but it handles it in a way that feels grittier and more grounded in relatable characters.  As opposed to a film like Flight, which I did not care for do to its handle on the addiction story, Smashed feels more like a film that is getting across its ideas without feeling misguided, unimpactful, and too loose with its tone.  Winstead is very good in the lead role, showing me a very human side of her that I was happy to watch, proving that she is not just a pretty face (as much as I do love Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and her in it).  She is so bare and vulnerable that you can't help but feel sorry for her and hope she finds a way to help herself.  Paul is quite good too, playing his character somewhat unaware of what is going on and what needs to change.  Some fine supporting work from Octavia Spencer as Kate's sponsor and Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as her colleagues at the school as well.  This is definitely a smaller film that I would like to see get more praise.  It's well acted, has a solid handle on a familiar story, and accomplishes what it needs to without betraying what the film is aspiring to be.

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at


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