Published On: Tue, Jan 27th, 2015

Sarah Silverman Jumps to Drama in ‘I Smile Back’


Comedienne Sarah Silverman is getting rave reviews for her dramatic performance in the new movie “I Smile Back, ” which is about addiction. The film premiered at the Sundance Film festival.

In the movie Silverman plays Laney Brooks, a drug addicted, bored and self-destructive housewife who hits rock bottom. With this performance she joins the ranks of comedians turned actors who have been able to make the shift to drama. Robin Williams did it and even won an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting.” So did Billy Crystal, Dennis Leary, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Lilly Tomlin and many more.

Silverman told Rolling Stone, “There really is no evidence of ‘me the comedian’ in this movie.” She added, “It actually is a bummer to be in a drama that has bummer scenes.”

She told The Hollywood Reporter about the subject of comedians transitioning to dram, “comics are in general kind of truth tellers. You can tell from the rapid death rate of comedians they tend to struggle with depression. I remember seeing great actresses in acting class and just hating them so much because they had such access to emotions.”

Silverman said that she was jealous of that access because she takes anti-depressants which make it harder for her to be in touch with inner feelings. She also said that comics are all suffering from some sort of inner darkness which helps them move into dramatic roles.

The movie is based on Amy Koppelman’s book which she sent to Silverman to read.

Variety said of her performance, “Rarely has a performer striven so concertedly to shed any trace of his/her comedy roots as Sarah Silverman does over the course of “I Smile Back, ” an addiction drama in which the acerbic comedienne gives the kind of warts-and-all, let-it-all-hang-out (body parts, fluids, etc.) turn that awards’ consultants dreams are made of. But Silverman’s performance is more than an attention-getting stunt, and it’s her hellish rendering of a New Jersey housewife under the influence of drugs, alcohol and mental illness that elevates director Adam Salky’s sophomore feature above the suburban-nightmare movie-of-the-week it otherwise often resemble.”

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