Silverman delivers a knockout performance - any memories of her scatalogical stand-up act are washed away in an instant. But her intense commitment to the depths of depression belongs in a better, more focused, less derivative film.
I Smile Back isn't a candy-coated, noble depiction of addiction and the toll it takes on families, but rather a bleak yet honest look at how regular people lose themselves, and how difficult it can be to find the way back.
I Smile Back pummels with nastiness, then moves from one shocking event to the next without a backward glance.
Silverman's performance, while good, is by no means great, and she is not able to transcend what amounts to a little too much sweetness and light in this cinematic "Smile."
Silverman is far and away the best part of "I Smile Back," a strained entry in the Mad Housewife genre.
A tough, unbending, sometimes brutally truthful profile of one woman's addiction and the havoc it wreaks on herself and just about everyone who matters to her.
Silverman's scarily good in this role - sick-joke-funny when the behavior supports it, raw yet subtle at Laney's most reckless junctures.
The movie's intelligent respect for that which is unknowable allows it to cover an enormous swath of ground in just 85 minutes. Sarah Silverman is very good in "I Smile Back," and the movie is even better.
Let's hope the next time Silverman lands a meaty dramatic role -- and she surely will -- it will be attached to a stronger movie with a screenplay that adds more context and gives more texture to its characters.