In I Smile Back, Sarah Silverman follows a great showbiz tradition of comedians subverting audience expectations by giving a surprising dramatic turn. Silverman went serious before in a supporting role in Sarah Polley’s melancholic romance Take This Waltz, but based on the film’s first trailer, I Smile Back represents new terrain for the comedian, and it is wrenching to watch. The movie follows Silverman has a housewife struggling with crippling depression and drug addiction, and the trailer, which at times is hard to watch, cuts between scenes of a seemingly normal family life and compulsively destructive behavior.
I Smile Back premiered at Sundance, where Silverman’s performance stunned audiences, with Variety writing: “What propels the film forcefully along is Silverman, who pulls us down so deeply inside Laney’s sickness that everything else seems to fade away.”
I Smile Back hits theaters on October 23.