Ever since Ray Milland staggered down Third Avenue trying to pawn his typewriter in The Lost Weekend, alcoholism has been a pet subject of the Hollywood issue movie.
What impresses about James Ponsoldt's drama is the matter-of-fact way it charts one couple's implosion through drink. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Kate, a junior school teacher who's let her habit get out of hand: having thrown up in front of a classroom of pupils she decides to get help at AA.
Her husband Charlie (Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad) tries to be sympathetic, but his reluctance to go sober will have consequences. Winstead's performance is a stand-out, flicking through bewilderment, shame and regret on her way towards a kind of salvation – though even that is honestly tinged with ambivalence: "I'm so thankful for this boring new life of mine," she tells her group.
Ponsoldt and his co-writer Susan Burke also pull off something very few films do nowadays – a good ending.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate