Adam Salky’s “I Smile Back,” written by Paige Dylan and Amy Koppelman, offers Sarah Silverman (based on a 2008 novel by Koppelman) a plum role as Laney Brooks, a privileged New Jersey housewife, a mother with two kids, whose lifelong depression deepens as she self-medicates with drinking and drugs. Silverman’s dramatic bona fides have always glimmered around the corners of her small, sly smirk-smiles, and in Sarah Polley’s 2011 “Take This Waltz,” she shared a couple of that drama’s darkest scenes. And while it seems she has nothing to prove as a performer, her habitation of this dark, destructive character is more than impressive, it’s stark and stirring. Laney is quiet, chilling, seemingly flooded with thoughts of the worst kind. Small details accrue; sorrow simmers. With Josh Charles, Thomas Sadoski, Mia Barron, Terry Kinney, Chris Sarandon. 85m. (Ray Pride)
“I Smile Back” opens Friday, November 6 at River East.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.