Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Aaron Paul
Nick Offerman
Octavia Spencer.
Directors
James Ponsoldt.
Screenwriters
James Ponsoldt
Susan Burke.
Running Time
85 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Hitman: Agent 47
2 Star Empire Rating
Barely Lethal
3 Star Empire Rating
Addicted To Sheep
4 Star Empire Rating
45 Years
4 Star Empire Rating
We Are Your Friends
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Smashed
You booze, you lose


submit to reddit


Plot
Kate (Winstead) and Charlie (Paul) are a couple dedicated to wringing out every last drop of fun life has to offer. But when boozy teacher Kate starts waking up in strange places and puking up in front of her elementary school class, she realises she needs to make a change...


Review
Smashed

"Love is easy," Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Kate says at one point during Smashed. “It’s the rest of the shit that’s hard.” It’s also disturbingly easy for a film about people struggling with the delights and despair of addiction to slip into After-School Special/Movie Of The Week preach, teach and heal territory. Thankfully, this new drama, which impressed Sundance audiences, manages to avoid the pitfalls by combining a light, frank, comic touch with real emotion and weighty, human performances by all those involved.

It’s Winstead who deserves the lion’s share of the credit here, crafting Kate as a charming, cheery, but ultimately troubled young woman. She’s built a seemingly perfect life, but comes to realise that the basement is flooded with alcohol. And when she makes the decision to take the 12 Steps (“Assholes Anonymous” as her mother, played by Mary Kay Place, snipes) journey, she finds out that it might be even tougher than dealing with hangovers. Especially when partner Charlie (Aaron Paul) decides he really doesn’t want to climb out of the bottle beside her.

But respect is also due to Paul, who makes Charlie sympathetic even as he’s selfish; Octavia Spencer, bringing wisdom and wariness to the role of fellow AA participant Jenny; and Nick Offerman, who trades the gruffness of TV’s Ron Swanson for the painfully awkward Vice Principal Dave Davies. It’s Dave who helps Kate take her first, faltering steps towards sobriety, but also stuffs his foot firmly in his mouth with his atrocious attempts at flirting.

Truth plays a big part here, with director James Ponsoldt and co-writer Susan Burke choosing to keep things on an even keel rather than let it become overdramatised. It’s effective, because as Kate and Charlie’s relationship corrodes, it’s like two people in love breaking emotional bottles and stabbing each other with the shards as they argue.


Verdict
The sharp ends in Smashed are here for all to see, and Ponsoldt never shies away from their spiky, thought-provoking effect. Yet he also finds grace and warmth in the story.


Reviewed by James White

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Smashed
Empire Star Rating

and the oscar goes to...

i hope Mary Elizabeth Winstead wins best actress ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bill the butcher at 21:20, 24 November 2012 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Evil Media: Haunted TVs, Tapes And Tunes
Ten sinister reasons to go off-grid

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)