Brace yourself to reassess your assumptions about funny woman Sarah Silverman. Yes, she’s made her name at being an unflinchingly honest and caustic comedienne, and it’s not unfair to say she paved the way for Amy Schumer‘s brand of comedy and success. While she did play a small dramatic supporting role in Sarah Polley‘s excellent 2012 drama, “Take This Waltz,” you’ve never seen Silverman quite as raw and vulnerable as she is in the upcoming Sundance breakout film, “I Smile Back.”
Written by Amy Koppelman (the wife of screenwriter and podcaster Brian Koppelman) and Paige Ryan, and directed by Adam Salky (“Dare“), “I Smile Back” centers on a woman on the verge of a breakdown and in the throes of a serious spiritual crisis that leads her to a string of self-destructive habits. The movie co-stars Josh Charles,Thomas Sadoski, Mia Barron, Terry Kinney and Chris Sarandon Here’s the synopsis from Sundance.
Laney is an attractive, intelligent suburban wife and devoted mother of two adorable children. She has the perfect husband who plays basketball with the kids in the driveway, a pristine house, and a shiny SUV for carting the children to their next activity. However, just beneath the façade lie depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves. At the core of I Smile Back’s power is an indelible performance. Sarah Silverman reinvents herself as a dramatic actress in the career-defining, intensely layered, and heartbreaking role of Laney. Deftly directed by Adam Salky, I Smile Back is at times darkly humorous but also harrowing and unflinching as an authentic, humanizing portrait that offers no easy resolution for a damaged woman struggling to come to terms with herself.
Silverman’s reinvention garnered serious acclaim at Sundance. Katie Walsh wrote in her review, “ ‘I Smile Back’ is a showcase for Silverman’s considerable prowess as a dramatic lead actress, and any story problems in the film are eclipsed by her tremendous performance,” and that sounds worth the price of admission alone. Broad Green Pictures will release “I Smile Back” on October 23. Watch the first trailer below.