Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Smashed deserves an Oscar
Winstead and Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul are 'dynamite' in drinking drama that impressed at Sundance
What you need to know
American comedy-drama Smashed opens in UK cinemas today. The film, directed by James Ponsoldt and co-written with Susan Burke, won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Aaron Paul, from the cult hit television series Breaking Bad, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star as Charlie and Kate, a young couple
with drinking problems. When schoolteacher Kate tries to get sober while Charlie keeps drinking, the couple are forced to question
whether their relationship is built on more than alcohol.
What the critics like
This small, precisely observed portrait of alcoholism is "an unsentimental movie for the age", says Stephen Holden in the New
York Times. Reminiscent of the classic Days of Wine and Roses, minus the old-time Hollywood melodrama, "it is anchored in a solid, convincing performance"by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Playing Kate with resonant intelligence and healing humour, Winstead is "a revelation", says Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. and
should be on the list for a best actress Oscar nomination. Together with Aaron Paul, "they are dynamite".
Winstead is "never less than excellent"as the grandly unhinged Kate who ends up hanging by a thread, says Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out. The self-control in her performance is "astounding".
What they don’t like
Ponsoldt's drama "offers nothing new to say about alcohol addiction", says Sheri Linden in the LA Times. The story doesn't shy
away from the ugliness of shared dependence, yet "it seldom gets beyond the thrashing surface".