Comedian Sarah Silverman is a complete revelation in her first leading dramatic film role as an upper class soccer mom with daddy issues and a serious drug problem in I Smile Back. That might sound like I’m diminishing the returns of her performance but only because she rises so far above material that isn’t terribly original.
The thing that almost miraculously differentiates Silverman from so many comedians who want to pull out a huge feat of dramatic acting is that she never winks at it, she never lets us know, ‘hey guys, it’s still me, Sarah.’ Unlike say, Jim Carrey, who almost never seems to be able to be 100% in his dramatic characters, Silverman embodies Laney Brooks completely. It’s an Oscar-worthy performance that deserves to be seen and recognized. Josh Charles, as Silverman’s husband in the film, is very good in what is often the ‘suffering wife’ role; he nails it. The film is a dark and bleak but that shouldn’t keep you from seeing it. Great performances like these are worth our time.
Sarah Silverman will be receiving the MVFF Spotlight Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Friday, October 9th and the film is set to be released theatrically on October 23rd by Broad Green Pictures.