Over the course of her relatively short career (she’s only 27), Mary
Elizabeth Winstead has turned in a string of solid supporting turns in
films that never really merited her talents (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire
Hunter,” anyone?). That changed last year the release of her Sundance hit “Smashed,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD via Sony Pictures Classics.
In the indie drama, Winstead finally takes the lead in a performance
that earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination (she lost out to “Silver Linings Playbook” star Jennifer Lawrence). Directed by James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”), “Smashed” centers on Kate
(Winstead), a married elementary school teacher, who also happens to be
an alcholic. The film charts her road to recovery (while her husband,
played by Aaron Paul, watches on from the sidelines), following an
incident at her school that forces her to lie to her superior.
“It’s one thing for an actor to convey drunkenness by merely stumbling
around the set and slurring words,” wrote Eric Kohn of her performance
in his review
of “Smashed.” “Winstead does more than that. Her eyes are always
darting forward, not quite there, searching for clarity about the world
that constantly eludes her. The character is a mess of arms and legs
jutting forward, sometimes enraged, elsewhere grasping for the correct
response to each barrier placed in front of her. Like the onscreen
alcoholics before her, she makes the case that this particular disease
exists within the nuances of behavior.”
Below, in an exclusive to Indiewire, get a peek at what Kohn was raving about by watching the first harrowing ten minutes of the film.