Alcoholism is a vice brought by many factors. It can be due to a person's environment, or a hereditary habit, to name a few. But what happens when a person tries to surpass it, to say that one had enough of the lifestyle, that a person's vice has brought nothing but trouble to daily life? That is what James Ponsoldt's Smashed portray, as we watch the life of Kate Hannah, an alcoholic whose habit has brought destruction to her life.
Kate looks like any ordinary teacher who loves her job, but amidst her facade, she's a binge alcoholic. She drinks before work, and gets wasted afterwards. She can't sleep without being wasted, and being drunk definitely has taken a toll on her. She pees on herself, jeopardizes her job when she goes to class with a hangover, and has even resulted to stealing and smoking crack, leaving her to wake up in the strangest places possible. Kate knows she needed help, and when she saw her life in shambles, she did exactly that.
The film won't be as endearing if Kate herself doesn't have challenges to overcome her battle with alcoholism. Her mother is an alcoholic. Her husband is an alcoholic. She even lied to her fellow co-workers because she herself is an alcoholic. On her journey to overcome her vice, Kate faces a lot of trials and temptations. Now, while it looks like I've presented such a simple story, the entire film is elevated by the performance of its cast members, particularly of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who demands the attention at the latter half of the film.
I like how the writers structured the story, making the story transitions quite well and focused. The film doesn't go around in circles and chooses to focus on that one major aspect, with everything else just falling into place. It doesn't push the theme to hit deeper tones, but instead chooses simplicity to exemplify. The film also utilizes great camera angles, adding to the overall look of the film. James Ponsoldt was able to convey a simple story into film in a wonderful way, and it really helps that the cast was excellent.
Final Word: Winstead gives a fantastic performance, standing out in a well-structured film.
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman
Director: James Ponsoldt