By: Shannon Page
Probably best known for her stand-up comedy and satirical roles, Sarah Silverman isn’t the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of serious dramatic actresses – but maybe she should be.
Directed by Adam Salky (Dare), I Smile Back stars Silverman as Laney Brooks, a suburban housewife and mother of two. In between packing lunches and driving the kids to school, Laney’s self-destructive behavior and out-of-control drug use begin to tear her outwardly perfect world apart.
I Smile Back features impressive performances by Josh Charles as Laney’s husband, Bruce, and Skylar Gaertner as her young son, Eli. Silverman herself is nothing short of astonishing and the energy and emotion she brings to the screen won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Laney is a complicated character with a dark psyche and the film’s exploration of mental illness, marriage, and modern family life is completely engrossing.
I Smile Back never lets itself become cliché or melodramatic; the film is refreshing in its insistence on avoiding the usual “redemption” narrative arc, instead opting for a gritty realism that will linger with audiences long after the credits have rolled.
I Smile Back screens at TIFF on:
Wednesday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m. @ Princess of Wales
Thursday, September 17 at 1:00 p.m. @ The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
Saturday, September 19 at 6:45 p.m. @ The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Runtime: 85 minutes
For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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