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Tag archive for: love

Few Smiles in ‘I Smile Back’

It’s the kind of performance you’re dying to see — but can’t bring yourself to watch.

Comedian Sarah Silverman takes a dramatic-as-a-heart-attack turn as a wealthy suburban mom devastated by anxiety and addiction in the new feel-bad movie of the season, I Smile Back.

The role’s got Oscar nod written all over it: See the actress grind on a teddy bear, sleep with strangers, snort cocaine off a bathroom floor, lie right to the face of her saintly husband — and ache with excruciating, visceral love for her still-perfect children. Silverman is 100 percent committed and compelling as Laney, the Shakespearean-tragedy-of-a-mommy so terrified of being abandoned by the people she loves that she systematically, almost willfully, destroys any reason for them to stay.

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Relationship Dissection

Down underground, in the basement of UCSB’s psychology building, behind two locked doors and another emblazoned with red hazard signs, a man lies in a pitch-black room, his skull in a scanner. Behind a window, lab techs stare silently at black-and-white renderings of his gray matter.

If this clinical scene doesn’t make your heart flutter, your face flush, and your guts flip-flop with jumpy juice, then you’re clearly not a scientist at the university’s Brain Imaging Center.

But Bianca Acevedo is. She’s a postdoctoral research fellow (am I the only one who enjoys calling women fellows?) who studies the neuroscience of love. “It’s a relatively new field, but it’s flourishing quickly,” said Acevedo, who spends her days translating lofty romantic notions into precise scientific terms. Working with the campus’s “Close Relationships Lab,” she uses a “Passionate Love Scale” to evaluate the “neural correlates of long-term pair-bonding.”

All of which would be funny if it weren’t just a little bit creepy.

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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