Smashed is the story of a 1st grade teacher named Kate Hannah, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Kate is a good teacher, but she is also an alcoholic. After arriving to school hungover and helping herself to a drink in the car, she throws up in class. The kids ask her if she’s pregnant, and she takes the easy way out and says yes. It turns our that assistant principal Dave Davies saw Kate drinking in her car before class. Dave, being a former alcoholic himself, 5+ years sober and a part of an AA group, invites Kate to his class where she finds that becoming sober involves a lot more than just being sober.

The reason I had heard of/wanted to see Smashed was because Aaron Paul, Emmy-winning star of AMC’s Breaking Bad, was in a feature length film, something I hadn’t seen him do before. The role is actually much like that of his in Breaking Bad, an addict. In the show he plays Jesse, who has a problem with an array and drugs like meth and alcohol, and in the film, his character Charlie Hannah is married to Kate and is also an alcoholic, although he has no aspirations to correct this problem. It is clear that the two have a lot of fun together and love each other, but relationships are hard to deal with when only one person is seeking help for their mutual problem. Paul gives a good performance, but his is overshadowed, both by screen time and talent, by Winstead, who shows impressive range and some really powerful sober and drunk monologues. Her work was really convincing.

Writer/director James Ponsoldt‘s film definitely has some comedy in it, both genuine and dark. The whole theater was laughing on a couple of instances, and there was some other things that you wanted to laugh at, but also inspired pity and shame. Actors Nick Offerman, who played the assistant principal Davies, and Megan Mullally, who plays the principal of the school, are both well-cast and fit in with the theme of comedy and pity. The movie shows both the light and dark side of alcohol: the fun times you can have and/or the poor impacts it can have on your life.

My Rating

3.5/4 – Smashed is a captivating film about the fun and serious sides of alcoholism and the rough path of the recovering addict lead with an awesome performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.


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