Review: Dosed Makes the Case for Psychedelics in Addiction Treatment

As we have found ourselves in a national crisis over the opioid addiction over the last few years, there have been many exposés on the harrowing journeys people go through as they navigate addiction and try to recover. Obviously, this has been a losing battle for way too many people, especially as the drug landscape changes with substances like fentanyl being more widely introduced. In order to provide a tailor-made approach to addiction treatment, we perform a thorough assessment of each patient upon entering our 30-day drug rehab. This is done in order to assess their medical needs, possible co-occurring mental disorders, the severity of their addiction, family dynamics, and other pertinent information that can help our practitioners to personalize treatment to the patient’s needs.  Once the symptoms of withdrawal dissipate and the body returns to normal function, which usually takes around 5 to 7 days, then therapy can begin. The patient will participate in various therapeutic programs such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and holistic treatment methods. These programs take place in either a group or a one-on-one format. The best way to determine what insurance cover for residential rehab you might have, contact your health insurance provider and ask them what your copays and other potential costs are, how they decide what to cover, and the types of rx addiction treatment services your specific plan covers, such as inpatient, outpatient, and detox programs. Alternatively, you can contact us and we will help you to determine what you are covered for. The best-known methods of treating addiction, according to the latest research, is through a whole-patient approach to treatment that involves tailor-made treatment plans, behavioral therapy, the use of medication where needed, and strategies to prevent relapse.

Dosed brings us the story of Adrianne (only her first name is revealed), a heroin addict living in Vancouver, Canada. She has been struggling with heroin addiction for a long time – she mentions that she’s been an addict for 20 years, but I’m never really sure about that time frame. She uses daily and calls herself a trashcan addict because she’ll use anything she can get her hands on. Her friend, director Tyler Chandler, walks us through her story.

As someone who is at the end of her rope, Adrianne decides to try psilocybin as a way to stave off her opioid cravings and possibly set her on the road to full recovery. Chandler captures her “trip” on film and it looks like it has some promise. The problem is psychedelics, like all medicinal treatments, need to be supervised by a professional. As a prescribed methadone patient in addition to using street drugs, her situation is more dire than most.

This leads them to a team of people using iboga, a hallucinogen that comes from a root of plant that is grown in Gabon, Africa, and has been used in rituals there for hundreds of years. Iboga can be deadly if used improperly and not under proper supervision, so Adrianne has to submit to their rules and practices in order to take that journey.

This film is a really up close and very personal look at addiction. Chandler and Adrianne have known each other for years and you can see that relationship play out throughout the film. This snapshot is clearly not the norm of what an addict goes through to get clean. Adrianne has privilege where most do not – she has two parents who are engaged in helping her get clean, she clearly has the money not only to buy street drugs every day (there is a scene that shows her stash of empty heroin packets that number in the hundreds or even thousands) but also to go to the iboga treatment center for multiple weeks which is quite posh. While we get to see some of the horrors of what an addict goes through to get clean, Chandler shies away from showing the really hard stuff like the withdrawals and the psychological reckoning that comes with understanding why one is an addict. He dances around these, lightly touching on them, but there is no visceral depiction that might land harder. So in this sense, the viewer doesn’t get crucial access to Adrianne‘s story which is needed to fill out the whole picture.

However, the film does present a compelling case for the use of psychedelics in the treatment of addiction. It states that psychedelics are 10 times more effective in weaning people off of opioids than traditional pharmaceutical measures. As the planet struggles to deal with the opioid crisis, all measures should be on the table to combat it. The problem is that most countries across the globe have banned the use of psilocybin and iboga, so the full potential of its healing power has yet to really be explored. It’s something worth considering quite heavily after watching Adrianne‘s quest for sobriety.

This film was supposed to open in theaters today, but due to the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shuttering of theaters across the country. However, this film is now available to be viewed online through Vimeo at the following link starting at 7 pm.

In addition, he filmmakers have pledged to give 10% of each purchase, matched by Facebook, for a total of 20% towards coronavirus disaster relief. While this isn’t the easiest film to watch during a time when so many of us are feeling unsure about the global situation right now, it has a message that is worth hearing. As one problem grips the world today, it’s important to not forget that there are other issues that are costing people their lives as well.

Here’s the trailer:

I hope you are all staying safe, being smart about social distancing and being compassionate to your neighbors. Much love to you all from us here at Reel News Daily!

Review: ‘Shelter’ is Paul Bettany’s personal cry for us to wake up.

 

SHELTER

A film by Paul Bettany

ShelterPosterIn NYC, the homeless are a huge problem. If we’re being honest, most of us ignore them or wave them off and go about our lives. Paying $5 for a cup of coffee but turning our noses up at giving spare change to a person in need. It’s a cultural problem. It’s an epidemic that we have to face rather than pretend doesn’t exist. In Paul Bettany‘s brilliant directorial debut, SHELTER, we are brought into the lives of two homeless people who could not seem more different on the surface. 
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Tahir is a Nigerian immigrant making ends meet, whatever that means for a man who lives on the streets, by drumming on buckets in the park. He stumbles upon Hannah, a woman alone, gaunt, drug addicted, desperate to end it all. Tentatively, Hannah allows Tahir to be her protector and partner. The two fight their demons as a pair, struggling to keep their heads above water among the dangers of illness, judgement, the rules of the NYC shelter system, and the night. As the pair become closer, their stories become the anchors that keep them together but could just as easily tear them apart.

shelterAnthonyMackie

Bettany‘s beautiful script comes from real life inspiration. Two homeless individuals, one black man and one white woman, lived outside his apartment in Tribeca. Each morning he would greet them until hurricane Sandy rolled into town. Bettany never saw them again. SHELTER was inspired by his longing to create the story of these two people who had now disappeared completely. Working with the Homelss Coalition NYC, he and Jennifer Connelly, who also happens to be his wife, learned what life is like for the more than 50,000 men, women, and children that slip through the cracks of a very broken system. With the gap between the rich and the poor widening at a pace that’s out of this world, this population is only going to grow exponentially as the months and years roll on. The script is incredibly bold and totally raw. Issues of faith and philosophy, human connection, and anonymity all come into play in a perfect storm of story-telling.

Shelter-4110.NEF

Shelter-4110.NEF

Anthony Mackie brings Tahir to life with a subtle power. He has a confidence and gentleness that is a gorgeous balance to Jennifer Connelly‘s more manic survivalist existence. Her effortless portrayal of Hannah will haunt you. The chemistry between Mackie and Connelly is played at the perfect pace as the story glides along. Both give a physically unafraid and impactful performance. You truly believe the two need one another to survive their own emotionally draining pasts. As one is introduced as caregiver and the other more victim, the film slowly and poetically evolves and the two switch places. Once again, as a directorial debut, this is an immaculate first go and should not go unnoticed. SHELTER will both bring you hope and ravage your heart. With a seductive score, effective script, and outstanding cast, the film will draw you in and perhaps cause you to lift up your head from your phone and pay attention a bit more often.

SHELTER comes to theaters today.

Written and directed by Paul Bettany

Produced by Robert Ogden Barnum, Paul Bettany, Katie Mustard, Daniel Wagner

Starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie 

RT: 105min

Hannah and Tahir come from two different worlds. But when their lives intersect, they’re at the same place: homeless on the streets of New York. How did they get there? As we learn about their past, we begin to understand that to have a future, they need each other. There are more than 50,000 homeless people living on the streets and in the shelters of New York City. To most of us they are nameless and faceless, and occasionally a nuisance. But every single person has a story. And Hannah and Tahir are no different. And theirs is a story of loss, love, hope and redemption.

Review: ‘JAMES WHITE’ makes escaping reality impossible.

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Josh Mond’s

JAMES WHITE

Starring Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

James White poster

If you’ve ever watched someone die from cancer… if you’ve ever seen the downward spiral of a loved one… if you’ve ever been lost in a haze a grief and confusion, JAMES WHITE will speak to you. What does a young man, flailing in his own existence, do to cope with the idea that one of these days, his mother will not get better? Is escapism the answer? Josh Mond‘s directorial debut lets us into the skin and brain of one man’s story.

JAMES WHITE

JAMES WHITE- Christopher Abbot & Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

As James’ mother’s health deteriorates, his ne’er do well lifestyle is forced to come to an end, but not before attempting to escape reality after the death of his estranged father. Triggering a getaway trip to Mexico with friends to avoid dealing with life, this drug, alcohol, and sex addled stay comes to an abrupt end when a call from Gail forces him to return to the couch of his childhood NYC home and take care of Mom 24 hrs a day. Struggling to put his bad boy behavior on the back burner, James walks the line between telling the world to fuck off and dropping his very existence to protect the woman he loves most in the world. As the plot progresses, we learn the this is not his first go round with mom’s illness. Do we forgive his behavior because of this? That’s for the individual to decide.

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

Mond’s script is partially based on his own experiences with his own mother. It is unapologetic and raw. You cannot take that away from Mond. No arguing that the film is ever dull or full of shit. It goes there fast and hard. Using cinematographer Mátyás Erdély was a genius move. Having recently seen Son of Saul at this year’s NYFF, his literal in your face, ultra close-up style of shooting, gives James White the immersive feeling the script calls for. I cannot imagine the film being in any other style. From the opening sequence, scored to perfection by co-star Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, with it’s organic feel and LOUD introduction, we immediately enter the world of a man who is grasping at straws to figure out who he is and what kind of person he wants/needs to be.

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Christopher Abbott gives an purely award-winning performance. His truth is on his sleeve 1000%. Somehow, through all the distasteful behavior he exhibits, you love him. Scott Mescudi is outstanding. As James’ best friend and long time player inside the family, his genuine interactions with Christopher and Cynthia feel so authentic, it’s almost hard to believe that this film isn’t a documentary at moments. Cynthia Nixon‘s portrayal of Gail is epic. With the film’s structure presented from month to month like chapters in a book, we are privy to the physical and mental changes her character endures. No matter the form of media, Nixon creates her own presence and we are lucky enough to witness it. The entire cast deserves all the accolades in the world, as does Mond for delivering a bold story.

JAMES WHITE will capture part of your soul. It allows you to let go and perhaps forgive yourself for past transgressions. Do yourself a favor and see this film.


 

Nominated for Three IFP Gotham Awards:

Christopher Abbott (Best Actor)

Josh Mond (Bingham Ray Breakthrough Actor Award) 

Audience Award

About JAMES WHITE

James White (Christopher Abbott) is a troubled twenty-something trying to stay afloat in a frenzied New York City. He retreats further into a self-destructive, hedonistic lifestyle, but as his mother (Cynthia Nixon) battles a serious illness James is forced to take control of his life. As the pressure on him mounts, James must find new reserves of strength or risk imploding completely.  The directorial debut of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE producer Josh Mond,  JAMES WHITE, which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2014 where it was the winner of the “Best of Next” Audience Award, is a confident and closely observed debut that explores loss and the deep relationship between a mother and son.  Abbott’s strong central performance is aided by a stellar supporting cast featuring Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”), Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi (“Comedy Bang! Bang!”), and Ron Livingston (DRINKING BUDDIES). Shot on location in New York City with an intimate visual style, JAMES WHITE follows its lead into deep, affecting places while still maintaining its fragile humanity. 

The Film Arcade will release JAMES WHITE on November 13th 

Interview: Amy Koppelman, author and screenwriter of ‘I SMILE BACK’ tells us where Amy ends and Laney begins.

AmyKoppelmanBeautifully insightful, generous human being, and honest writer, Amy Koppelman now has three books and one screenplay under belt. Her novel, I SMILE BACK just opened in theaters, a film she developed for the screen with her screenwriting partner, Paige Dylan. After her first novel A Mouthful of Air, Koppelman used her own life as a rough base for the lead character in I Smile Back, Laney, immaculately portrayed by Sarah Silverman on the big screen. I got a chance to sit down with Amy last week, and pick her brain.

Liz: Firstly, congratulations, to both you and Paige on bringing such a bold and honest story to life. Thank you for tackling a subject we tend to try to hide rather than seek help for. I would love to know, where does Amy end and Laney begin?

Amy: All the thoughts and fears, the self-loathing, the doubt, the sadness, all of those, I own those completely. The ways in which they manifest in Laney and in me, that’s where things diverge. I’ve been sleeping with the same guy for 25 years…

Liz: So her outwardly self-destruction and addiction.

Amy: Exactly, that’s not me.

Liz: Did Brian (Koppelman, Amy’s screenwriter/director husband) actually help you at all with the transition from page to screen?

Amy: Well, he’s very helpful in the sense that he actually kept me alive and got me better for so long, and yes, of course, he was helpful. He gives great notes. It’s like, what more could you want but a great screenwriter in your house. I mean screenwriting for me is a completely different muscle than novel writing. It uses a completely different skills set and some people can do both with fluidity. For me, it’s counter-intuitive to the way I write, so he was very helpful.

Liz: Do you think it’s easier to “write what you know” or is that more of a challenge?

Amy: I don’t know because for years and years I just wrote without thinking about what I’m writing… I mean I knew that when I was writing I Smile Back I wanted a write a story about a woman and about how everything she did was based on fear, that she was so anxiety ridden about hurting or being hurt by the people she loved that she almost preemptively strikes against them. Because even if everything goes right, even if they don’t leave her, somebody at some point will die and that’s just, you know… I always think that by the time you’re five and you realize that everyone you love is going to one day die, it’s amazing that every five year old doesn’t run into traffic. So, I just write and write until I hit a scene and think, “Oh, that’s what I’ve been trying to write to.” … It’s not that I know the answer to that, I just write from the inside out, I guess.

Liz: Yeah, I don’t think that there’s an definitive answer. Sometimes it’s a hindrance to  know too much or you don’t want to reveal too much. Sometimes it’s cathartic. Every piece it sort of it’s own thing.

Amy: Yeah. I do know that when I write, I don’t hold back anything. I don’t care how I’m judged or what people think of me. It is the most unadulterated part of myself.

Liz: It’s great. It’s very accessible. It’s unapologetic so it’s unfiltered. It’s very relatable.

Amy: Maybe not for everyone?

Liz: But I think in some way, you’ve either known someone who’s like that, or perhaps feared to become that person?

Amy: Yes! That’s what I think it is. You know, when people ask me about redemption, I don’t understand that question because for me, redemption comes for the viewer or the reader, for the person who is experiencing it. I know the reason that I read, or the reason that I watch films is so that.. the thing that moves me the most is when someone is able to articulate a thought or feeling that I’ve had that I haven’t been able to put into words. Sometimes that I didn’t even realize I was having and it makes me feel so much less lonely. I hope that I Smile Back can do that for some people. Make them feel like they can identify themselves in the character or someone they love in the character and either help that person get the help they need, or realize like Josh Charles (who plays Laney’s husband Bruce in the film) ultimately has to, that sometimes, no matter how much you love somebody, you can’t make them better.

Liz: That’s why I loved the ending so much, because it’s honest and real. (SPOILER ALERT- *scroll down if you haven’t yet read or seen the film) It’s real life. Things don’t get wrapped up in a bow.

Amy: We’ve come to expect that somehow and some of the bad reviews have been very angry about the ending, “It just ends in the middle of nowhere!” And I thought, well, I don’t think it ends in the middle of nowhere, it just ends there. It wasn’t some ploy to be cute or something. That’s just where it ended for me. Maybe Laney can get her shit together.

Liz: And who knows? And you let that story just sort of live in the ether and I thought it was awesome.

(SPOILERS ALERT OVER!)

Liz: I  also thought there was an interesting comment on this cultural need to fake it through your day. But also, as a Mom, to sort of lose your “self” to family obligations. Two really big things… especially in the city!

Amy: Yeah. I think as women, at some point, we do feel the need to put people at ease. Not all women, but I do think that is a trait more inherent to women. To kind of make things right, so I think that for Laney, if she can keep her family okay, and keep her kids okay, and keep her demons to herself, then maybe they can all be safe.

Sarah Silverman I Smile Back stillLiz: What was in Sarah’s voice, when you heard her on Howard Stern? Was it a tone or something she said?

Amy: It’s funny, I’ve been tempted to listen to the interview again, because someone told me it was online, and I thought, “I don’t actually think I should listen to it again.” There was just something in the tone of her voice and I can’t explain it except for like it happens a couple times in your life, you have a moment of magic, like when you fall in love, ya know? I just thought she’d understand me. She would understand Laney and what I was trying to explain with Laney. I do believe that as writers, or carpenters, or teachers, or just human beings, we just want to be heard and understood. So, my first inclination was just to get the book to her because I thought, “Oh, she’s gonna understand me and that in and of itself felt like a real victory.” The fact that she got it, and opened it and read it, well that was a real miracle.

Liz: So, Postpartum Depression, in the past couple weeks, has gotten a little more attention than it normally gets. Which I think is important. I have a lot of  friends, who have just given birth and who are also pregnant, and clearly that is a huge fear. You just don’t know if and when it’s going to happen.

Amy: Every woman, to varying degrees has.. it’s very emotional when you have a child. I mean the hormones in your body, the estrogen, there is something called Baby Blues which isn’t Postpartum Depression and so postpartum depression is just like baby blues, that just doesn’t go away, it gets worse. I started writing [ A Mouthful of Air] 20 years ago, it was impossible to get published, and I think every single agent in NYC rejected that book and they all said, “No one wants to read about this.” I remember, I’m so sick, that when Andrea Yates killed her children, I don’t know if you remember that? I remember seeing it on the cover of Newsweek and calling one of  the agents and going, “See?! This is a real thing!.” And she said, “Well this isn’t going to make it any easier for you, it’s going to make it worse.” So, I’m really happy to see that people talk about it more now. When I wrote that book, people say it’s a book on postpartum, I never even knew the words postpartum depression even existed. I just thought it was a variation on the theme of depression. I didn’t know there was this separate world of this kind of depression. I remember after writing the final scene… I remember going online and reading, I don’t even think it  was Google, I think it was Ask Jeeves!… it was the first time I saw the words “postpartum depression” and it was on a very rudimentary site where some mother was writing about how her daughter had killed herself, not the child. Slowly through that book, I met a lot of people who were working really hard to bring awareness. It’s much better that people know to look out for it. People know with their friends, they can spot it. They know the difference between when the person is having emotional stuff happen because they have just had a baby versus, “Oh, that’s something different.” And they need an different level of help. A Mouthful of Air is actually out of print now but you can get it for free on my website. (www.AmyKoppelman.com) You can print it out at home or you can get it as an eBook. I might as well have it there, because the most rewarding thing for me, even though I don’t sell a lot of books, is when I get letters from psychiatrists or from people who say, “I gave this to my patient’s husband, so that they could understand what’s going on with their wife.” Or, “I gave this to my patient’s mother so they could help get their child to take medication.”

Liz: I think that’s so generous of you.

Before they steal you, HESITATION WOUNDS! (Amy’s new novel) I think it’s  so interesting that you’re coming from a psychiatrist’s point of view in this respect. I think that’s a really interesting way to tackle the subject of depression.

Amy: I think that one of the things that Susa Seliger says, (The main character in the novel) she says that even though she knows so much about the human mind, it doesn’t really help her in terms of being a human being. It doesn’t make it easier for her to deal with regret and fear and mourning and anger. The guilt for having survived. And, I hope you like it!

hesitation wounds coverHESITATION WOUNDS Synopsis:
The new novel by the author of I Smile Back, now a film starring Sarah Silverman.The acclaimed author of I Smile Back, Amy Koppelman is a novelist of astonishing power, with a sly, dark voice, at once fearless and poetic. In her breathtaking new novel, Dr. Susanna Seliger is a renowned psychiatrist with a specialty in treatment-resistant depression. The most difficult cases come through her door, and Susa will happily discuss medication or symptom management but draws the line at messy feeling. Her mantra and most fervent anti-prayer, and the undeniable fact of her past is that the people who love you leave.But the past is made present by one patient, Jim, whose struggles  tear open Susa’s hastily stitched up wounds, and she’s once again haunted by the feeling she could have saved those she’s lost, including her adored, cool, talented graffiti-artist brother. Spectacularly original, gorgeously unsettling, Hesitation Wounds is a wondrous novel that will sink deep and remain—powerfully, transformingly, like a persistent scar or a dangerous glow-in-the-dark memory.
i smile back posterI SMILE BACK  is in theaters now and will be On Demand this Friday, November 6th.

Hesitation Wounds comes to shelves tomorrow, November 3rd!

Review & Press Conference: ‘BURNT’ is a tasty dish we’ve had before

Burnt_Poster2_FINAL2Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). BURNT is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

BRADLEY COOPER stars in BURNT.

BRADLEY COOPER stars in BURNT.

Cooper is strong as ever, there is no denying that. Not only do you absolutely buy him as a skilled chef but you also find yourself engrossed in the background story of addiction. Not to mention he gets to show off his impeccable and charming French skills. Miller, once again, gives a solid performance as single mother Helene. Her great balance of strength and vulnerability make her a lovely foil for Cooper. There chemistry seems truly organic. This film is really an ensemble piece. You cannot create an environment such a kitchen without relying heavily on your entire team. Daniel Bruhl reads as one of the most passionate characters in the film, by far. Sam Keeley and Omar Sy, both inject life into this eclectic group of chefs. Other noteworthy performances come from Matthew Rhys and Emma Thompson. The cast was put through kitchen boot camp. they had become chefs on set. That is clear and wonderful to watch.

(L-R) BRADLEY COOPER and SIENNA MILLER star in BURNT.

(L-R) BRADLEY COOPER and SIENNA MILLER star in BURNT.

The film should do well with cooking enthusiasts and foodies alike. While the script is nothing revelatory, it does  give the audience an easy peak into the aftermath of addiction. BURNT is very much a film about second chances and self respect. The cast is strong, the food porn aspect is delightful. The comment on building the perfect meal and building the perfect relationship was certainly not lost on me. Go for Cooper, go for the acting, and definitely go for the food.

Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller attended the film’s press conference with fellow stars Daniel Bruhl, Uma Thurman, and Sam Keeley. Moderated by the gregarious and world renowned chef Mario Batali, the press conference took place at The London Hotel in New York.

Burnt press conf table

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Mario Batali, Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller, Bradley Cooper, Uma Thurma and Sam Keeley attend the “BURNT” New York Press Conference at The London Hotel on October 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Burnt photo call

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Mario Batali, Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller, Sam Keeley, Uma Thurman and Bradley Cooper attend the “BURNT” New York Press Conference at The London Hotel on October 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Check out our audio from the conference. You can hear me make a comment and ask a question around the 22:00 minute mark. And yes, that is Bradley Cooper reacting to my profound statement. As for Mario Batali… I’m going to need him to moderate more often. What a gem.

BURNT is in theaters now!

Review: ‘I SMILE BACK’ is Sarah Silverman’s game changer.

Presents
i smile back posterSarah Silverman has been making us laugh for ages now. Her raunchy comedy style is beyond funny. Though, we’ve never seen her in a role like the one she plays in I SMILE BACK. As a mother of two children, insurance salesman husband, massive house in the burbs, Silverman plays a woman on the edge of a cliff. This film is not funny. Sarah Silverman I Smile Back still So many mothers try their damnedest to attain a facade of perfection. Doing it all, every day, can take its toll. Even more so  if underlying issues bubble to the surface and collide head on with mental illness and addiction. Silverman‘s character, Laney, has a routine. Hubby wakes her up as he is heading out the door. She rises, makes her kids their personalized lunches, breakfast, gets them to school… then all hell breaks loose in her world. Faking it through the moments has become the bane of her existence so pills, alcohol and sex become her destructive outlet. When the cracks begin to show and the fun wears off, Laney’s sporadic outbursts among the masses, and worse, the ones she knows intimately are simply the beginning of all the walls imploding around her. The film tackles so many touchy subjects unapologetically. Based on Amy Koppleman‘s novel (which she adapted for the screen along with Paige Dylan) I SMILE BACK pulls no punches in parading Laney’s self destructive behavior for the audience to cringe along with. Whether or not we’ve experienced addiction first hand, we all know someone who has. Depression doesn’t have a magical cure. Bruce, Janey, son, Josh Charles, I smile Back stillSarah Silverman should, hands down, get an award for this performance. Do not for one minute think that was an easy performance to pull off. It is raw, dirty, unglamorous, and very real. If this doesn’t open up an entire new avenue for her career, then shame on Hollywood. Sharp tongued and effortlessly pointed, Silverman owns this film from minute one. Josh Charles as supportive husband Bruce is no throw away character. Endlessly in love with his wife, knowing full well what she is capable, there are moments real truth is revealed. Through brief remarks, side glances,even if he tolerates her behavior, he does not condone it. His portrayal is incredibly realistic in each moment. He never asks too much of her but strives for her happiness even if it means making unpleasant family decisions. It is an unafraid performance. Laney and dad Sarah Silverman still from I smile Back
I Smile Back not only tackles addiction, depression,  mental illness, but breaking the patterns that have been, and are being, passed down generation to generation. The film is brave. The script is bold. It will leave you with a sense of reality some may not be ready to accept. Audiences will be lucky to dive into this film head first. We’re very proud to recommend I SMILE BACK.

I SMILE BACK open tomorrow, October 23rd in NY at the Angelika! Available On Demand November 6th.
Laney is an attractive, intelligent suburban wife and devoted mother of two adorable children. She has the perfect husband who plays basketball with the kids in the driveway, a pristine house, and a shiny SUV for carting the children to their next activity. However, just beneath the façade lie depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves.
Starring: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, Tom Sadoski and Mia Barron
Directed by: Adam Salky
Written by: Amy Koppelman (based on her novel) and Paige Dylan
Running Time: 85 minutes
Rating: R
#ISmileBack

Tribeca Film Festival interview: ‘THE ADDERALL DIARIES’ director Pamela Romanowsky talks fated moments in making the film.

Stephen Elliott (James Franco) and Neil Elliott (Ed Harris)Anna Kooris

Stephen Elliott (James Franco) and Neil Elliott (Ed Harris)Anna Kooris

Director Pamela Romanowsky‘s debut feature is not a meek choice. Tackling the page to screen adaptation of Stephen Elliott‘s memoir THE ADDERALL DIARIES seems like something that was written in the stars. Speaking of stars, the film is lead by an outstanding performance by James Franco as a pill popping, destructive behavior addicted, emotionally ravaged man. Under the guise of writer’s block, Stephen lets himself become distracted by a murder case that seems to resonate with his memories of the past; memories that have made him a famous author so far. When his father’s ghost returns to haunt him, life spirals into an seemingly endless line of poor life choices. One person’s truth may not be what it seems.
On the heels of TRUE STORY, Franco plays Elliott with a ferocity that is totally organic. Hitting highs and lows so sharp, I can safely say I am impressed. Ed Harris portrays his strong willed father. A constant trigger throughout the film, this role was made for Harris, literally. Amber Heard is beautiful and honest as a NYT journalist fighting childhood demons of  her own. Christian Slater is charming as ever and a master of emotional disguise as the subject Stephen longs to understand. Cleverly edited and stunningly shot, THE ADDERALL DIARIES is a sensory and emotional overload of a film. You will find something that connects with you, I guarantee it.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Pamela Romanowsky and talk about the journey that became this project.

Liz:  Just saw the movie and I really liked it. How did you happen upon Stephen’s novel?

Pamela: Well, there are two parts to this story. I first happened upon it because I live near a really great independent bookstore called “Word” in Greenpoint. I saw it in the window and that is often how I buy books, ” What does Word have?” So I just read it as a casual reader and loved it, thought about it a lot, it really stayed with me. It’s the kind of story that takes a lot of processing. Then separately from that, James Franco and I went to grad school together and are good friends and we hadn’t worked together yet. Then I had the opportunity to make the short with him for The Color of Time. We had a great creative connection and a great time working together. James approached me with The Adderall Diaries. I actually just found out yesterday that it was the first book he optioned.

L: He is such a fan of page to screen, all of which so far have been really successful. It’s such a bold move because it can go so wrong.

P: He picks Difficult books.

L: He really does.

P:  It was a really great moment of synchronicity. He wanted to help me make my first feature and with a book we both loved.

L: I think his performance was one of his best and so clearly has a lot to do with your relationship. You had such a great cast full of talent. Ed Harris, what a juicy role for him. I also really enjoyed the juxtaposition of memories talk to me about the editing choices.

P: I developed the visual style with my DP who was also a collaborator from grad school. I met a lot of my people there. Bruce also shot my piece for The Color of Time so we had already talked about how to approach memories cinematically. We used steady cam alot because it felt organic. This is a character who is always in motion, and practically it allowed us to shoot quickly, to be intuitive, to find shots within the scene as we went. And the use of slow motion… you know memory is such a hard thing to describe to someone else but to me, the things that you tend to recall over and over are these small moments and details so it almost like you’re seeing it in slow motion.

L: it is incredibly effective. It is so aesthetically beautiful.

Did you guys have a lot of rehearsal time? Everything feels really organic. Yet there are some truly physically demand scenes.

P: I think as is often in indie film, but I had the advantage of knowing a lot of these actors and Ed, I met at the Sundance Directors Lab.

L: Had he been cast already or did he just come in and read for you?

P: No, he was my advisor at the lab. Coincidentally he was also the person I wrote this role for! His photo was on my writing board the whole time but I never actually thought I was going to get a chance to meet him. So when we were at Sundance, low and behold Ed Harris walks in and I was like ” Oh my God, Ed Harris is here!” It just happened that he was there, it just happened that he was my advisor, and it just happened to be the week I was shooting my father/son scene. So when he was leaving I had to tell him, “You know, thank you so much for helping me and so I wrote this role for you and I don’t know if you’d ever think about doing it but I am gonna keep asking you forever.”  And truthfully I didn’t have a back-up plan, I didn’t see anyone else playing this role. It took me 9 months to talk him into it. So I had a lot  of time to talk it over with him. It was the same with all the other actors. Rehearsal is really important so right before we would shoot each scene I would kick everyone out and we would run the scene through.

L:  As soon as I walked out of the theater I said, “I have to buy this book now. I am completely intrigued. I have to read it.” It has so many relevant issues that even if you’ve never experienced them personally, you would gravitate towards this story. We all have our own way to interpret what our memories are. And I think the older you get and the longer you live with your interpretation, that becomes your truth. It was beautiful to see that on screen. Thank you so much for talking with me.

P: Thank You! Enjoy the rest of your fest!

L: You too! I look forward to talking to you for whatever comes next.


THE ADDERALL DIARIES ticket and showtime information can be found here in the Tribeca Film Festival Guide 2015.

TFF 2015 NARRATIVE FEATURE

Release Year: 2015

Runtime: 87 minutes

Directed By: Pamela Romanowsky

Country: USA

Elliott (James Franco), a once-successful novelist inflicted with writer’s block and an Adderall addiction strives to escape his problems by delving into the world of a high-profile murder case. Amber Heard, Ed Harris, and Cynthia Nixon co-star in this adaptation of Elliott’s best-selling memoir. | Read More