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Smashed Reviews

Page 1 of 18

Super Reviewer

July 12, 2014
"Smashed" follows two alcoholics as their lives begin to fall apart without them even realizing it, but when Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) begins to sober up, her husband get's even worse. Living off of his parents money, he has no reason to stop. Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead give their all's in their performances here and their chemistry is almost as if they are married in real life. I believed every word they were saying to each other, and with such a short running time, it did not feel like anything had been in there as filler. Extremely well-written, well-directed, and brilliantly acted, "Smashed" is one of my favourite romance films out there. I was sucked in from the beginning and cried when the characters did, and that is when you know you are watching a great film. Terrific!
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2013
Good Indie drama about a hard partying alcoholic woman who hits rock bottom, and decides to try to sober up. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Kate, the young alcoholic woman trying to clean up her act, and she is amazing in this. The movie seemed very real in it's portrayals, and the challenges she faces in trying to stay in a marriage that's founded on drinking. Not fast moving, but heartfelt, and interesting all the same...
Alice S

Super Reviewer

July 18, 2013
I expected this movie to be funnier, especially with Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally in the ensemble. A young couple revels in love and booze, but the wife eventually attempts sobriety to the husband's carefully masked disappointment. Alcoholism isn't inherently funny, but a film about it should be to some extent; otherwise, the struggle becomes melodramatic and the same as every other textbook addiction film.

Nick Offerman's awkward flirtation is intended to provide some comic relief, but it just ends up being overlong, creepy, and inconsequential. The script is realistic and provides some riveting plot points (Kate teaching her 1st graders with drunken exuberance, then puking and perpetuating the kids' assumption that it was morning sickness; Kate waking up under a shady overpass, unsure and scared of what transpired the night before; Kate losing control of her bladder at the liquor store and then sneakily exiting with the wine she wasn't allowed to buy due to the curfew). However, my main critique of the script is that it needed less text and more subtext in the climactic fight scenes. The accusations are so on-the-nose: "You're the reason I can't be sober!" Everything is spelled out and predictable.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (along with Gemma Arterton and Hayley Atwell) has one of those faces that I can never recognize. She looks different every time I see her. She has some shining moments of vulnerability in this role, but her drunkenness is once again, a bit on the nose. My first acting teacher said acting drunk for a role is tough because drunk people don't necessarily act drunk; they try to act like they're NOT drunk. Aaron Paul, as husband Charlie, is quite magnificent with his ice-blue gaze. Charlie is slightly douchey and overall loving, but the way he loves isn't enough for Kate anymore. Aaron Paul does well in disguising his secret hope that Kate will rejoin his bad behavior as support.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2013
A well-intentioned, though heavily flawed drama concerning an alcoholic young teacher (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who must comes to terms with her life after a series of horrible decisions under the influence of alcohol. While Winstead is utterly phenomenal in a performance that should have got her nominated for an Oscar, she's unfortunately trapped in a film that suffers from a case of inexcusably awful writing at one crucial point in the story that the film builds on. The "pregnant" lie she tells is handled horribly (anyone in the world would have said "I'm feeling sick today" instead of make up some inescapable lie), and if it weren't for Winstead being so unbelievably terrific here, the film would be near unwatchable. But she is outstanding, as is her supporting cast, and the way the writers detail their characters is actually surprisingly well-done given most indie films sometimes kick character development to the curb except for the lead character. With all that said, it's not a bad movie. It is flawed, but it is well-paced, well-acted, and as said it has a good heart at showing just how dangerous the life of an alcoholic can be, while still giving us hope that all is not lost. Not a total recommendation given it's obvious flaws. "Flight" still crushes this film given the subject material, but it's certainly not anywhere close to a bad movie.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2013
"Smashed" is the story of an alcoholic school teacher(Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who realizes her life is going downhill and attempts to get sober. The only problem is her husband(Aaron Paul) continues to drink and plays as an enabler instead of actually helping her. This is a pretty low budget independent movie, which is fine, but it's very slow. Other than the scenes where she is spinning out of control, the movie plays more like a "lifetime tv" movie. Aaron Paul does a good job, but Winstead to me wasn't that good. She seemed more like someone who pretends to be drunk and does it way over the top, rather than someone who actually has a problem. Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" or Denzel Washington in "Flight" played it perfectly, here she plays it the opposite. Now, those are completely different in tone, but still, it's almost like she is a parody. If she had more emotional scenes about her past and what makes her want to drink so much, this could have been a very strong drama. It's ok for a one time watch, but I'd say most likely just skip it.
Matt G

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2012
Mary Elizabeth Winstead deserved more award recognition for this.
Sam B

Super Reviewer

September 21, 2012
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who definitely proves her talent here, can only carry 'Smashed' so far - about half way to be exact. After that point, the contrived and unintuitive plot hinders what starts out as a lively and honest look at alcoholism. For a recent film that tackles the same issue in a much more sophisticated way, watch 'Flight' instead.

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2014
In "Smashed," it may not be Kate(Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wetting the bed that she shares with her husband Charlie(Aaron Paul) that serves as a warning that she is drinking too much nor twice waking up in a strange place nor smoking crack with a veritable stranger. It is when she throws up at her job as a elementary school teacher that forces her to lie about being pregnant that gets the attention of Dave(Nick Offerman), a colleague, before he tells her about the time he drank liquid cocaine.

As extremely well-acted as "Smashed" is, especially by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, with very fine support from Octavia Spencer and Nick Offerman(And I checked. Megan Mullaly not being annoying is a minor miracle.), it is a shame that in its tale of alcoholism that it is nothing we have not seen hundreds of times before. Plus, the faux pregnancy storyline simply goes on too long and for such a functioning intelligent alcoholic it is surprising that Kate has not worked out a decent hangover cure by now.

Super Reviewer

February 27, 2013
Smashed by it description sounds like a romance film, but is actually a look on what alcohol consumption does to a person and their relationship. The plot is very thin even at a running time of 1 hour and 21 minutes which is only saved by brilliant acting.

Smashed is about a married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol that gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober. The film has no conclusive end, instead leaving up to the viewer to decide what happened. The ending does not work since what proceeded it tells us the character won't change their behavior. To be honest not much happens besides Mary Elizabeth Winstead attempting to remain sober and facing the problems she once ignored. It never explains why she started drinking in the first place, but it does explain why Winstead wants to become sober. At times seems to promote the Alcoholics Anonymous. No other option is mentioned in the entire film to help Winstead coped with her drinking problem. It does somewhat redeem itself by not glorifying AA. It doesn't say that going to AA meetings will immediately fix your problems. It's a slow process and one that takes time to make a lifestyle over a habit. Smashed in terms of storytelling is basic stuff done that could have benefited if it dared to branch out to other topics.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in previous roles has never been able to show her true potential as an actress until now. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a capable dramatic actress. She could act drunk convincingly, she evokes the right amount of energy in her more emotional scenes, and knows how to build her character. Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad is good here. Unlike the t.v. series Breaking Bad Aaron Paul character doesn't change much or has much of an importance to the story. His unimpressive performance is the fault of the material which limits Aaron Paul capabilities. The supporting cast is fine, but they never really standout as much. The supporting cast does help ease us to the end without annoying us. The cast of actors elevate the material enough to make something of it.

Smashed basic plot has been done before, but the actors involve makes this one of the better films that explores the hardship of alcoholism and breaking a bad habit in your life. It's a good film, but the lack of ambition will hold some of checking it out.

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2012
When we first meet Winstead she's enjoying a night out with her husband, Paul, an L.A music critic. The next morning she vomits in front of her young pupils, claiming to be pregnant to cover it up. That night, while intoxicated, she smokes crack and spends the night with a bunch of homeless men. Waking up in some wasteground the following morning, she decides to quit drinking. The vice-principal at her school (Offerman) invites her to his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where she gets the help she requires. Her new found sobriety is at odds with her husband's partying lifestyle however and the relationship proves increasingly strained.
For all it's indie sensibilities and Cassavettes handheld drama, 'Smashed' is little more than a hip version of those 'After-School Specials' which aired on American TV through the seventies. The version of alcoholism on show here is wildly unrealistic and over-dramatic. Before the opening title card has even hit, Winstead has gone from having a pint of beer to smoking crack with street bums. I haven't seen such a rapid descent since Sue Ellen found solace in the bottle on 'Dallas'. Crazy as it sounds, that show's portrayal of alcoholism was more grounded in reality than the one presented here.
No pun intended but the film seems to be sponsored by AA. Winstead only has to attend one meeting and she's immediately off the sauce. As portrayed here, AA is a wonderful place where everyone accepts you despite your faults. The reality of course couldn't be further from the truth. AA is one of the most despicable institutions we have today. If you're unwilling to accept the Christian God into your life, they're not going to lift a finger to help you. In the U.S it's particularly scandalous that the organisation is sponsored by the state; this in a nation that claims to have a separation of church and state. Never once is religion mentioned here, instead we get a white-washed dishonest portrayal of an organisation more interested in recruiting church members than providing help to those who need it.
In a year full of impressive performances by young actresses, Winstead gives yet another. Despite the weak material, she's an electric presence in a film that doesn't deserve such a good performance. Like a drunk who can't decide whether to party or sleep, the film finds itself torn between serious drama and light comedy. For the most part it's played straight but whenever Offerman and Mullaly appear it bizarrely veers into sitcom territory. Cinema has given us many riveting portrayals of alcoholism, this isn't one of them.

Super Reviewer

November 10, 2013
Mary Elizabeth Winstead's performance is the best reason to see this film. I have seen her in supporting roles, but was so happy to see her in a leading role like this one. She shines here. She reminded me a lot of Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married and Sandra Bullock in 28 Days.

My problem with the film was that, I felt like I have seen this type of film before. It reminded me a lot of movies like You Kill Me, 28 Days, and Rachel Getting Married. They didn't offer anything new here. And I found it all predictable. I was shocked by the short running time of the film. I thought it would be a little longer.

Aaron Paul does a good job as Mary's husband in the film. Octavia Spencer, Mary Kay Place, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullay offer fine supporting work here.

I say see it for Mary's performance.
Lane Z

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2013
I am not sure this is Mary Elizabeth Winstead's breakout film, but it certainly gives you a great peek into her ability to lead a film. As a troubled alcoholic with an alcoholic husband, Winstead really does a good job of playing a character who knows her addiction is the source of the problem but can't do anything (at least not right away) to stop it from taking over her life. I like how the entire film is kept in a small setting. Maybe only three or four different places. Great additions with Aaron Paul (who throws a few 'bitches' around), Spencer as a calming motherly figure and husband/wife duo Mullally and Offerman (who aren't in the film) add good weight to the star power and acting. Even though Winstead is clearly the focus of the film, I thought if the director delved deeper into the history of her abuse and why she went to alcohol along with more of Paul as a central figure rather than a bystander, there would be more talk. A fine job well done though for an easy 80 minutes.
Philip P

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2013
Mary Elizabeth Winstead seems to have been around a good while. I remember seeing her plat the baddie in the wonderfully underrated Sky High in 2005 only to return the next year in that fun and fresh spin with the third entry in the Final Destination franchise. Since, she has had some high profile supporting roles (John McClanes daughter in Die Hard 4 and 5) as well as some great acting pieces in movies that flopped (Scott Pilgrim, Death Proof) while also creating a stigma around her by starring in generic horror flicks (Black Christmas, The Thing, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Alas, she has finally seemed to arrive at a place in her career where she will be able to show why she's picked up so many roles in the first place: because she can act! In Smashed, a small intimate indie project, Winstead plays Kate a first grade school teacher who has always drank, always surrounded herself with people who drink and never found it to be that big of a deal. That is, until she throws up in front of her room full of children due to the fact she is so hungover. It is cause for an awakening within Kate, but she has trouble finding success in quitting because her husband Charlie (Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) is a spoiled rich kid who writes music reviews of and does little during the day but play video games and drink just so he can go out at night to see a band and drink some more. She finds solace in a co-worker played with surprising empathy by Nick Offerman and a support system in fellow recovery alcoholic Octavia Spencer. The authenticity of everything that happens in the film is almost startling as their is no glam to any of it and helps to paint an honest picture of the struggles in dealing with a problem most people will dismiss with derogatory thoughts. Everything contributes to make this an effective film, but it is Winstead's performance that allows it to rise above the typical.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2012
A perfect vehicle to launch Mary Elizabeth Winstead and her future successes as a dramatic actress, "Smashed" proves itself a viable Indie with a close-to-the-chest demeanor and dead-on, ethereal performances, not just from Winstead, but from co-star Aaron Paul as well, who gives a glimpse of the headlining actor he will certainly become. James Ponsoldt is unafraid to delve into the truth of addiction and all that comes with turning your life around, allowing his gorgeous lead actress to be dirtied and without make-up throughout most of the film.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2013
It's a film with a strong central performance but a weak everything else.
November 27, 2013
I like how the film sticks with the characters and doesn't try to be a film about ALCOHOLISM. Nice little movie.
October 24, 2013
A very original and realistic look at alcoholism that illustrates how sobriety in itself is not equivalent to permanent happiness.
September 22, 2013
Thanks in large part to an amazing performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed delivers an addiction recovery film that is sincere and not muddled with an overly dramatic storyline.
September 18, 2013
Fueled by a stunning lead performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, SMASHED is a surprisingly excellent little film about alcoholism. The director and actors seemed to really understand where they wanted to take this film and I think that made it incredibly profound even at a mere 81 minutes. Loved every second it.
June 29, 2013
Can't say it was an "enjoyable" movie, but it was well acted, and brutally honest about the pain and consequences of not only alcoholism, but of getting sober too.
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