I came into watching 'I Smile Back' having recently come out of a relationship with a woman suffering from severe depression, both having younger children from previous relationships. I was aware of her depression right from the start and it wasn't an issue as it never manifested, up until the last 5-6 months that is. For the 85 minutes this film played, it was like I was watching my life played out by Josh Charles and my partners by Sarah Silverman. Almost perfectly Adam Salky's adaptation of Amy Koppelman's semi-biographical novel highlights and encapsulates the rigors and devastation depression can have on someone's life and the loved ones around them. As the film goes on and you are rooting for Silverman's character to get it together, get healthy, and be happy; the most common questions that keep reoccurring (as in my own experience) are how much is depression to blame for the erratic behavior, the self-destruction, the poor life choices, the hurting of others? Where does the depression end and the person begin? What should be forgiven and what cannot be? Coming from a position of clear bias and sympathy for the husband, I 100% related to being in that position that he is doing everything he can to help her, he clearly loves her and wants his family to be happy together. Often, love and good intentions are not enough in these scenarios, and decisions need to be made about whether to keep fighting in the hope things get better or to let it go so it doesn't destroy everyone. 'I Smile Back' really balances these questions so there's no clear right answers. I was a little wary initially of Sarah Silverman being in the title role. Even with her previous serious roles I still felt that in your face, over-the-top personality wanting to burst out. Not in this. She nails it, and really makes you feel every emotional high and low. Unlucky not to be recognized by the Academy this year. My only criticism is something which I rarely ever say about movies, is that I wish it was longer. I think the affect and anxiety that his mother's depression had on the eldest boy needed to be explored even more. We only get a very surface level of symptoms and afflictions of the child, and it would have been fascinating to get more on what affect it was having in his and his sister's life. I would have also liked a little more of a POV perspective of the husband and how he handled everything. Overall, a very realistic and relatable projection of a debilitating and devastating condition.
I Smile Back
I Smile Back
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Addicted to drugs and alcohol, a housewife's self-destructive behavior starts to take its toll on her husband and two young children.
February 27, 2021