TIFF12: My Thoughts on Smashed

Smashed focuses around an elementary school teacher named Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who lives a somewhat carefree lifestyle with her husband Charlie (Breaking Bad‘s Arron Paul).  Both Kate and Charlie are heavy drinkers and are barely able to function through their lives.

Kate begins to realize that her drinking may be a problem when she vomits in class while hung over.  The school’s vice-principal Mr. Davies (Nick Offerman) notices her drinking problem and suggests that she come with him to Alcoholics Anonymous, and she begins her attempt to clean up her life.

Before I say anything else, I will say that Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives an excellent performance in this film and this is likely to be her breakthrough performance after a career that has, so far, consisted of mostly genre films.  That said, the film has a very straight-forward plot and the film is actually finishes quite sooner than I expected.

Kate manages to stop drinking pretty quickly in the film and her main struggle involves staying off alcohol, especially when the people around her, like Charlie and even her mother (Mary Kay Place), continue to drink heavily.  There is also a subplot in the film, involving the fact that Kate lied and told the school principal (Megan Mullally) that she was pregnant when she vomited in class, which gets a little out of hand.

Overall, the film is worth it just for Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance.  I do sort of wish that more of Kate’s struggle was shown on screen, since the film does feature a number of somewhat jarring time jumps, in which one scene she is a raving drunk and the next scene she is much better.  That said, it was still a decent film.

 8 | LIKED IT 

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).