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An affecting drama about the pitfalls faced on the road from addiction to recovery, Smashed centres on Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Death Proof) as Kate, a smart and attractive schoolteacher happily married to Charlie (Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad), both of whom happen to be alcoholics.
Their life together is portrayed with surprising honesty and genuine humour, shown to contain a lot of fun and affection even as drinking becomes the essential part of their day. Eventually, following incidents of escalating recklessness, Kate decides to quit drinking, a choice incomprehensible to Charlie, formerly her best friend and strongest ally, now her worst influence.
While the viewer may expect a film with this set-up to descend into melodrama or judgement, it steadfastly refuses to do so; instead, it’s warmly sympathetic to the couple and the faltering love between them. With a strong supporting cast including Octavia Spencer (The Help), it’s an involving tale that could well see Winstead’s remarkable performance acknowledged during the coming awards season. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)