Way to blow everyone out of the water with your acting talent, Mary! It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mary’s always been a talented actress, but it’s taken the indie film Smashed to show critics what’s up. The latest review for Smashed comes from FirstShowing, where they call call Mary’s performance “astounding”:
Keeping the film from venturing into cheesy drama is a finely tuned script from Ponsoldt and screenwriter Susan Burke, who actually struggled with alcoholism on her own. While most films that deal with alcoholic characters only deal with the monstrous, ugliness of the disease, Smashed dabbles with the struggles, benefits and sometimes difficult consequences of becoming sober as well. Simply doing away with alcohol isn’t a path to sunshine, rainbows and a care-free life. In fact, it only makes your problems more apparent and hard to deal with, and Burke and Ponsoldt have accurately brought those elements to light with this story. The film isn’t always dark and dramatic as there’s some great laughs to be had from certain drunken behavior, but it never celebrates it.
However, the words on the page wouldn’t be so agonizing in their portrayal if it wasn’t for a phenomenal breakthrough performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Hannah. This is easily the most challenging role in her career up to this point, but the actress’ dramatic chops are nothing short of astounding. Winstead is one of the most charming drunks to grace the big screen since Dudley Moore in Arthur, and it’s her bewitching, fun-loving personality that makes her fall from grace that much more afflicting. The difference between Kate while absolutely wasted and sober is honest and real, a refreshing departure from the overacting that usually comes with these kind of portrayals. On a dime Winstead turns from a jovial drinker to a sad and angry drunk, and it’s just mesmerizing and heartbreaking.
Smashed is not just another sappy tale of alcoholism and a broken family. The film is a story about redemption, but without the cut and dry contrast of the drunk life versus the sober life. Winstead has an almost monologue about her life, the affect sobering up can have on a person’s life without only positive outcomes, and the image of Alcoholics Anonymous that encapsulates what makes this film one of the best presentations of alcoholism captured on film. Ponsoldt and Winstead should both get pretty busy once this film gets a bigger audience because both talents have achieved something special with Smashed.
Read the full review at the link provided above. So happy for you, Mary!