Special Presentations

I Smile Back

Adam Salky

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Sarah Silverman gives an astonishing performance as a drug-addicted, self-destructive New Jersey housewife whose life begins to come apart at the seams, in this blistering adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Amy Koppelman.

A frank account of a woman's struggle to overcome the self-destructive compulsions that have plagued her all her life, I Smile Back stars the brilliant Sarah Silverman in a career-changing role.

Laney Brooks (Silverman) has a loving, steadfast husband (Josh Charles), two terrific kids, and a comfortable suburban home. In fact, she has everything going for her, yet she's putting it all in danger. Between dropping the kids off at school and doing the shopping, she takes cocaine, amphetamine, and Ambien, and she regularly has sex with her husband's best friend. When she can no longer hide her addictions, she agrees to go into rehab, but her too-brief stay isn't enough to alter a lifetime of self-medication or to heal the deep psychic wound underlying her wild behaviour. Laney is on the road to recovery, but how far can she go without a map when temptation waits at every turn?

Adapted by Paige Dylan and Amy Koppelman from Koppelman's novel of the same name, the second feature from director Adam Salky is bracing but compassionate. I Smile Back offers no easy solutions to Laney's predicament. What hope it can offer comes through in its fundamental humanity and its sense of lived experience, even when it's an experience of domestic life turned upside down. Above all, the film boasts a riveting central performance. One of today's most gifted and risqué comedians, Silverman has done drama before, but never quite at this pitch. Her Laney is grounded in urges and fears that feel unnervingly real. This beautifully crafted and courageous performance is one you will not soon forget.

Silverman will also join us at the Festival for a separate onstage In Conversation With... interview.

location_on Scotiabank 13

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location_on Princess of Wales

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location_on Winter Garden Theatre

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location_on The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

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