Eric Lin
Chris Nashawaty
October 22, 2015 AT 07:47 PM EDT

I Smile Back

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
86 minutes
Wide Release Date
10/23/15
performer
Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles
director
Adam Salky
genre
Drama

We gave it a B-

There’s a long tradition of comedians diving deep into dramatic movie roles to show us—and themselves—there’s a Janus-mask flip side to being funny. Sarah Silverman, who’s best known for her deadpan, taboo-flouting stand-up act, is no stranger to acting on screen (even if she tends to play the wacky friend who says inappropriate things). But in Adam Salky’s I Smile Back, she’s far from anywhere she’s been before. Silverman plays a suburban wife and mother who’s battling depression and numbs herself with cocaine, booze, and self-destructive hookups that her husband (Josh Charles, fantastic) can’t overlook anymore. Her downward spiral is hard for him—and us—to watch. Too bad this woman-on-the-verge drama doesn’t match the fearlessness of her performance. It’s 85 minutes of grim abyss-gazing with no hope of salvation. If Silverman’s going to bare her soul this nakedly, she deserves a better film to do it in. B–

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