The Keeping Room
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: Strong violence, including sexual assault.
Theater: Edina.


Scarlett O’Hara, these girls ain’t. At the end of the Civil War, two sisters (Brit Marling, Haille Stanfield) and their slave-turned-comrade (Mena Otaru) must hunt and dig for their meager food supply, then fend off a pair of murdering, raping Union deserters. Daniel Barber’s beautifully shot and authentically set story is somewhat disjointed, but good acting and the women’s bond nearly make up for that.


Miss You Already
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, sexual material and some language.


Female friendship fable “Miss You Already” presents itself as a sort of “Beaches” for the 21st century, announcing its tearjerking intentions right there in the title. If this is your kind of thing, you may have already bought your tickets to enjoy a slice of friendship fantasy and a good cry. The presence of beloved actresses Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette also sweetens the pot. But in endeavoring to deliver buckets of tearful catharsis, the efforts of “Miss You Already” are so conspicuous and unabashed that it only achieves a strange sense of emotional detachment.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service


I Smile Back
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: R for strong sexual content, substance abuse, disturbing behavior and profanity.
Theater: Mall of America.


Sarah Silverman delivers an impressive dramatic turn in “I Smile Back,” in which the comedian and actress plays a wealthy homemaker hiding a prodigious addiction to drugs and alcohol behind the curtains of her picture-perfect McMansion. Married to a terrific guy and devoted to her two kids, Laney Brooks fulfills the role of wife and mom convincingly. But what looks like maternal doting on the surface masks a crippling fear of abandonment and anxiety that Laney banishes by self-medicating. She sips vodka into the night (and drunk-dials a rival mom), snorting cocaine while hubby and the kids shoot baskets outside.

Directed by Adam Salky from Amy Koppelman and Paige Dylan’s adaptation of Koppelman’s 2008 novel, “I Smile Back” follows the expected downward spiral of an addiction narrative, complete with boozy acting-out, rehab, the inevitable backslide and a gruesome sequence in which Laney hits rock bottom. Although the plot is painfully familiar, the novelty here is Silverman, who doesn’t exactly erase her comic persona so much as bring to the surface an inherent darkness that has always lurked in the shadows. This feels like a breakout for an actress poised to join Kristen Wiig as another famous funny lady capable of plumbing astonishing depths of vulnerability and inner sadness.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post