Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose relationship is built among laughter, good times and more so than anything, alcohol. When Kate's drinking puts her into embarrassing and somewhat dangerous situations she decides to join AA and become sober. Her journey to sobriety is incredibly difficult both on herself and her relationship to Charlie, as she struggles to get her life back on track. James Ponsoldt's Smashed is an honest portrait of alcoholism that more so than not avoids manipulative tactics, simply presenting an honest portrait. Kate is the central character of the film and Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a marvelous job at portraying this difficult character. This isn't more prevalent than in the sequence where Kate first goes to an AA meeting and begins to simply breakdown under the weight of her mistakes. It is a truly affecting sequence that Winstead pulls off with subtle grace. From a visual perspective Smashed isn't transcendent or anything but the aesthetic fits the story well, complementing the down-to-earth gritty life of Kate and Charlie. Smashed does a great job at not simply showing 'the event' which makes Kate come to her decision, instead showing a series of events, which increasingly help Kate realize she has a real problem. Even her co-worker Dave, the man primarily responsible for her going to AA, has issues, and all of this together help the film feel more real, showing how these character all have problems and are trying to work things out. Although Smashed is about a serious subject, the film does a great job at providing a nice balance of comedy, with some great moments that really help ease this tense drama while also elevating the dramatic moments because of it. Smashed does a great job at showing the difficulty involved with getting over something like alcoholism, portraying how tough yet ultimately rewarding it can be.
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