Fans of Sarah Silverman will tell you that she is one of the funniest women on the planet. Although she excels at comedy, Silverman is also a fantastic dramatic actress. Her new film, I Smile Back is a perfect example at how amazing and versatile she really is.
In the film, she plays Laney an attractive, intelligent suburban wife and devoted mother of two adorable children. She has the perfect husband (Josh Charles) who plays basketball with the kids in the driveway, a pristine house, and a shiny SUV for carting the children to their next activity. However, just beneath the façade lie depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves.
Adapted by Paige Dylan and Amy Koppelman from Koppelman’s novel of the same name the material is compelling and heart wrenching. Watching Sarah take on this character breaks your heart yet also makes you angry to see how depression, addiction and loneliness can affect anyone.
Adam Salky, director of I Smile Back, was convinced Silverman was right for Laney after revisiting her small, memorable performances as an overbearing girlfriend in “School of Rock” and an alcoholic sister in Take This Waltz. It helped that Silverman’s autobiography, The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee, which explored her early depression, gave her the instincts for a woman in turmoil. “Sarah has a pool of emotional and intellectual depth,” says Salky. “You put the camera on her and let it run.”
As one of this generation’s most gifted and risque comedians, Sarah Silverman who is 44, takes on this career changing role with so much passion it’s hard to believe she is simply acting.
Silverman spoke with the media in September at the Toronto International Film Festival where the film premiered to both critical and audience acclaim. She discussed where she had to dig to find it in herself to play a woman like this and how she related to Laney.
I Smile Back is currently playing in the U.S. at select theatres and opens in Canada on December 4th