Smile Film Review

Unsettling and uncomfortable at its peak


Hope Whitley

Have you ever heard the saying, “The greatest self is a peaceful smile, that always sees the world smiling back.”? Many say that this is a motto to live by, that all should go through life with a smile plastered on their face. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), the main character of Smile(2022) would beg to differ. In the beginning of the film Rose seems to have it all. A nice house, a fiance, a job she is passionate about, and her cat. She has devoted her life to helping those with mental health disorders in remembrance of her mother who  committed suicide when Rose was young. While working with a patient  (who Rose thinks is schizophrenic) things get weird. The girl starts throwing herself at walls claiming that “its back” referring to a presence she claims has been following her around since she witnessed the suicide of her professor. She suddenly stops fighting herself, takes a sharp object and slits her own throat all while staring at Rose smiling ear to ear.  After the chilling death of her patient, Rose’s life takes a turn for the worst. She starts seeing things that aren’t really there, doing things she can’t remember, and having whole conversations with people only to realize she is alone. She starts to experience the same paranormal things her patient was talking about and begins to think she caught whatever it has her patient had, like an infectious disease. 

Caitlin Stasey Creepy Smile GIF by Smile Movie - Find & Share on GIPHY

The good 

The premise of the film is definitely fascinating, and unlike anything I’ve seen in a psychological horror before. The idea of this death chain that is inescapable works great as audiences are trying to crack the mystery  right along with Rose, making  this a very engaging watch. I would say to get the best “Smile” experience, you should watch it with a group so you can discuss ( and maybe argue)  your theories while it’s happening because let me tell you, the possibilities for this movie are endless. You never really know where it’s going.  Rose’s cop ex-boyfriend, Joel (Kyle Gallner) is the only character that indulges Rose in her suspicion. He stands out  for his dry and witty humor, his on screen chemistry with Rose, and his character actually does help move the story along, which is desperately  needed at times. 

Simply OK

Smile’s best attribute is its element of suspense and surprise.  The way you are constantly on the edge of your seat watching Rose analyze all of the patterns and clues, rooting for her to live but also questioning whether any of this is real or if Rose has really lost a hold of her sanity. The jump scares are either very good or very predictable, the good ones being amazing and even scary while the others ones are just mediocre. Sosie Bacon is good as Rose, but there aren’t any standout performances in Smile’s entirety besides the chilling smile each actor gives before each death.

Final thoughts

 I wouldn’t say Smile was bad, I enjoyed watching it. The jump scares were a shocker and the film’s greatest strength was its use of surprise. The “curse” was really interesting but I wish Rose figured it out sooner because after she did it felt like they were rushing the ending. I would say Smile started off strong, got better, but ended on a weak note. My final rating is 6/10.