Smashed Tackles Dangers of Social Drinking
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Opening in limited release this weekend, the new indie film Smashed—starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul—brings the dangers of social drinking to the big screen. The movie, which was a critics' favorite at both the Toronto and Sundance film festivals, follows a first grade teacher (Winstead) whose nightly drinking binges see her lose control of her life, leading her to attend AA meetings. The story is loosely based on co-writer Susan Brooke's personal experience with alcoholism and sobriety, so Winstead went to AA meetings with Brooke before shooting, to help develop her character. “I don't think many of us really look at ourselves and think, 'Okay, do I drink too much?'" says Winstead. "At a certain point, you have to really get to a point where you are able to look at yourself and say, 'Okay, I think this is too much. I think I have a problem.' Sometimes it's really that fine line of 'I'm just having fun.' It can be a blurry line sometimes.” Though the movie deals with serious issues, the writers aimed to do it with a light touch. “We really wanted something to add humor and didn't want to take ourselves too seriously,” says co-writer James Ponsoldt. “Usually in movies people feel like they have to treat [characters] who are struggling with something as fragile, but they're not. People are tough and resilient and complicated. We wanted the film to feel that way and a main character that had all of those things.”