One of the titles that managed to leave an impression on those who attended the 2012 Sundance Film Festival - and snagged a Special Jury Prize for its efforts - is Smashed, a dark dramedy which stars such fan-favorites as Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Thing) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as a young couple who are essentially bonded over their mutual alcoholism and affection for getting... well, smashed.
Sony Pictures Classics has been circling the distribution rights to Smashed for the past month; the studio has finally gone ahead and purchased said rights (for the sum of $1 million), as is detailed in a new official press release.
Here is a plot synopsis for the film (via Sony's press release):
In SMASHED, Kate [played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead] and Charlie [played by Aaron Paul] like to have a good time. Their marriage thrives on a shared fondness for music, laughter . . . and getting smashed. When Kate’s partying spirals into hard-core asocial behavior, compromising her job as an elementary schoolteacher, something’s got to give. But change isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Sobriety means she will have to confront the lies she’s been spinning at work, her troubling relationship with her mother, and the nature of her bond with Charlie.
Smashed was co-written and directed by James Ponsoldt, an indie filmmaker previously responsible for the well-received 2006 drama Off the Black starring Nick Nolte as (not-so-coincidentally) a disillusioned alcoholic. Ponsoldt's collaborator on the Smashed script is first-time credited writer Susan Burke, an alum of TV series like X-Play and Attack of the Show! (she's also a supporting player in Smashed).
The remainder of the supporting cast for Smashed is a veritable list of award-winning character thespians, including Megan Mullally (Parks and Recreation, Will & Grace), Mary Kay Place (Big Love), and newly-minted Oscar-owner, Octavia Spencer (The Help).
Winstead's turn as a recovering booze addict in Smashed has earned the actress lots of acclaim and been touted as a tour-de-force performance by most critics who've seen the film. Of course, Michael Shannon's part in last year's Sundance critical darling Take Shelter was likewise buzzed about early on - and yet, ultimately, failed to win him (or the movie in general) any attention from the really big award ceremonies for 2011.
That said: whether Smashed becomes one of the rare Sundance breakout titles that does well at the box office on its way to Oscar glory (a la Little Miss Sunshine) - or becomes yet another little-seen acclaimed indie release that the Academy ignores (a la Take Shelter) - ultimately doesn't matter. It sounds like an excellent film based solely on its own merits, so all you hardcore cinephiles out there should definitely keep an eye out for it.
We will keep you posted on any noteworthy future developments concerning Smashed, including when it lands an official theatrical release date.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics [via Moviehole]