Smashed stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Kate, an adorable first grade teacher, as she addresses her alcoholism with the help of supporting characters Jenny and Dave, played by Octavia Spencer (The Help) and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation). Kate has to change her whole life if she wants a new start, even her husband, Charlie, played by Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) drinks on a daily basis. She comes from a whisky-soaked household and quite frankly, doesn’t know any other way to live. The film follows her heart-wrenching journey to shed the shame she’s carried on her shoulders for years.

The film is raw and honest, stripping away the often glamorous representations of partying as it examines the ugly parts: the morning after, the fights, the embarrassments, and the fear. Sure, the movie shows the awesome karaoke performance and the dim-lighted giggling fits, but it also shows the desperation, the vomit, the urine, the stumbling, everything unattractive about a partying lifestyle that is often swept under the rug in movies today. Anyone who has ever crossed a line, especially those who have had trouble getting back, will be able to relate to the characters and the struggles they face – whether it is Kate, who longs for something better but doesn’t know how to get there, Charlie, who uses denial as a shield from reality, or Jenny, who has made great strides and accomplishments but still asks, “what’s next?”.

Smashed deals with a sensitive subject matter as almost everyone knows at least one person who always seems to drink a little too much and party a little too hard, but still delivers some light-hearted moments with the help of Megan Mulally (Will & Grace) who plays Kate’s naïve boss and school principal. When I saw the familiar faces of some very famous actors and actresses pop up, I didn’t expect to feel their vulnerability quite as much as I did.

Smashed serves a reminder to be honest with yourself. The universal struggles are there – not thinking you’re good enough, not knowing if you can reach your goals, not knowing what’s next, not knowing what you should be doing – and there is no sugar-coating. Smashed is the thawing ocean on a warm spring day. Will you take the plunge?

Kat Stubing 


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