Smile Parent Guide
The jump scares are sure to get you, but nothing else in this derivative movie will hold your attention.
Parent Movie Review
During her childhood, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) lost her mother to suicide, a tragedy that motivated her to help people suffering with mental illness. After completing her medical studies, Rose set to work in a non-profit psychiatric hospital, often dealing with unstable people in difficult situations – one of whom will change her life forever.
Laura Weaver (Caitlyn Stasey) arrives in Rose’s office experiencing what appears to be severe paranoia. She is rambling about an evil entity that wears other people’s faces like a mask, all bearing the same hideous smile. Before Rose gets a chance to treat her, Laura kills herself, smiling all the while. And now Rose is having strange hallucinations, hearing things she can’t explain, seeing things she knows cannot be real…but what she sees is real enough to ruin her relationships, her sanity, and if she’s not careful, cost her her life.
What really bunched my briefs about this movie was that no matter how obvious or telegraphed the jump scares were, they still got me. Usually, a horror movie will give you three-to-five business days to predict jump scares, and now they just catch me in mid-snore. This flick kept dodging my expectations just enough to flank my cynical disinterest, which was particularly annoying when the jump scares caught me just as I was trying to sneak a drink. I’m not sure how director Parker Finn managed it, but it was frustratingly successful. (I would advise caution from photosensitive or epileptic viewers, as one scene features bright flashing lights, and others involve sudden bright lights or loud sounds.)
Now, before you get the impression that I liked the movie in spite of itself, I didn’t. Smile is an unoriginal and derivative movie, desperately trying to be The Ring. It endeavors to plaster over that naked aspiration by borrowing cinematography from Candyman, but fails to capture the intentionality and narrative direction of the original. The result is a movie that just feels confused. If anything, this is a film whose techniques succeed in spite of the fact that the plot and characters are deathly dull, dragging out the runtime far longer than its alleged 115 minutes would lead you to expect. Sosie Bacon certainly manages to pull off her character’s descent into madness, but that’s not enough to justify the whiplash I suffered as the film switched between tensely disturbing and blandly soporific.
Smile is a terrible movie for kids and not a great choice for teens, although the gaggle of high-school students plaguing my showing seemed to have a wonderful time chatting through the boring bits and screaming anytime the film took a shot at being scary. The plot deals heavily with suicide and violence, and there are more than fifty sexual expletives. It’s a little bit of a lot, especially considering the tiring plot. But if you’re just here for the adrenaline, then boy have you found the right film.Directed by Parker Finn. Starring Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release September 30, 2022. Updated September 30, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Smile rated R? Smile is rated R by the MPAA for strong violent content and grisly images, and language.
Violence: People are seen cutting, stabbing, and burning themselves and others. A dead cat is shown. Corpses are seen bearing a variety of grisly injuries. Suicide is frequently depicted and discussed. Individuals are seen peeling their own faces off. There are scenes of nightmarish imagery, supernatural beings, and transformations.
Sexual Content: A character is briefly seen from the shoulders up in the shower.
Profanity: There are 53 sexual expletives, 11 scatological curses, and occasional mild swears and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are occasionally seen drinking wine.
Page last updated September 30, 2022