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.