When I heard Sarah Silverman’s name called on the morning SAG nominations were announced, I was dumbfounded. I was expecting the usual surprise nominees and snubs, but my reaction was SARAH SILVERMAN?! Are these people insane? However, after getting over my initial reservations, and checking out the trailer for the film, my curiosity was piqued.
I Smile Back centers around Laney Brooks (Sarah Silverman), a housewife with two children and a husband who loves her. Yet, even with all of this, Laney is empty. She’s having sex with a friend’s husband and doing mountains of drugs, except the medication that’s prescribed by her psychiatrist.
Soon, Laney breaks down and has to go to rehab in order to get her head straight. It seems that Laney has it together, until she goes away with her husband and sees the father who abandoned her, with a new family and a new life, which sends her into a further downward spiral, alienating her family and effectively wreaking havoc on everyone around her.
I admit, this movie isn’t original by any means. It’s a subject that’s been done to death. Some have even compared it to last year’s Cake, which is a fair comparison to make, but this is something rawer, deeper, with a better central performance.
The entire reason this film works is due to Sarah Silverman’s performance. It’s one of the best of the year but it’s looking more and more likely that she won’t receive a nomination, which, in all honesty, is egregious. The movie around her may not be the best, but her performance is something to behold, and a type of performance I never thought I would see out of her.