Pierrot Smiles Back is Sarah Silverman’s attempt to dramatize her struggles with depression on the big screen (or Netflix these days), with mixed reviews from critics. Most critics praised Sarah’s power as a dramatic actor; her talents being so great she made viewers completely forget the goofy frat girl Sarah everybody knows and loathes. However great Sarah’s performance was, she did not have the commitment from the rest of the cast, which detracted from the film.
But why I am I treating this film so heavily? It’s about depression, and everybody knows you just need to snap out of it and smile goddamnit. If that doesn’t work, take your Prozac. You should be relieved of your inner demons at the cost of your ability to feel anything. If that doesn’t work, you’re clearly a dumb, attention-seeking emo whore who should just kill herself already.
Everyone knows that comedians are deeply miserable people at heart who use their comedy to medicate themselves to keep their sanity together. Show business is no laughing matter. And Sarah does show the depth of that misery through her weeping, rages, and reckless acts despite her bumbling costars.
Sarah plays herself in the film, as she does in everything because she is that egotistical. She is an affluent housewife who, strangely enough, suffers depression. It is odd. What does she have to be depressed about? She is white, she doesn’t have to work in a tollbooth for eight hours a day, her husband does not abuse her, she has two happy loving children, and she drives a sleek Dodge van with folding seats that destroys the earth’s atmosphere each passing minute.
Yet she willfully destroys her life. The perverse woman snorts powdered sugar with rolled up one hundred dollar bills, she cuckolds her husband by having buttsex with shady men in bars, she raves at some dumb hippie mom for saying Thanksgiving is genocide, and destroys her husband’s deal with a customer by calling his wife a whore.
Sarah clearly wants you to view her character as tragic and wants you to sympathize with her. I do sympathize with her despite her many faults because I know how terrible mental illness is, as I have OCD and mild depression. When such demons grip you in full force they distort everything you see about the world and yourself. They shut out everything else in your life until all that exists is your self-absorbed pain and self-loathing. At its worst depression is like a constant pain that never goes away. It is almost physical.
At the very start of the film you see a close shot of Sarah’s face. Her eyes are as dark and bleak as the deepest pit of Hell as she numbly stares at what can only be called an abyss inside you. This is what being possessed by your demons looks like. Now steal my idea and win yourself an Oscar or a Noble Prize in Literature, you pretentious prick.