Sarah Silverman was not funny starring in “I Smile Back, ” which was featured at Sundance, but this assessment is a compliment. While stand-up is the natural element for Silverman, and she isn’t giving it up to become the next Meryl Streep, the Huffington Post declares that it is time to take Sarah Silverman seriously as an actor.
There are no laughs in this relentlessly dark piece, nevertheless, Silverman was considered an obvious choice. Silverman tells IndieWire she was hand-picked for the role as Amy Koppelman, the author of the memoir on which the film is based, heard Silverman on the Howard Stern show and thought to herself, “This is who should be Laney, ‘ and wrote the screenplay, and so you know, who am I to argue. What am I, busy?” Silverman says, “I’ve always liked doing all sorts of things in all sorts of mediums.”
The main character of the film is a suburban housewife who seems to have it all, a caring husband, two children, but also has a cocaine and drinking habit, even as she is surrounded by love and support. Sasha Bronner of the Huffington Post said it isn’t as if Laney’s life is “spiraling out of control, ” but is in a “constant, steady descent.”
Silverman has been quite public about her own struggles with depression, particularly in her own memoir “The Bedwetter.” She recalls having been put on Xanax when she was 13, “Whoever put me on that should be imprisoned. I just felt numb. I didn’t feel better.” Laney also is “supposed” to take medication, but falls into cocaine and shots of liquor instead.
When asked if she preferred drama or comedy, Silverman responded, “I’m not going to stop being a comedian. It’s just a movie.”