The whole suburbs-as-repository-of-psychic-despair thing has been pretty well covered, what with "Blue Velvet," "American Beauty" and "Desperate Housewives" working that particular cul-de-sac of the subdivision. "Laura Smiles" has little to add to the conversation, so writer-director Jason Ruscio resorts to timeline trickery and a general undercurrent of glacial malaise to hold things together.
Laura, once an aspiring actress with a wanna-be novelist fiancé, has since settled into a certain suburban certitude with her husband and their young son. The death of that old fiancé has recently begun to haunt her, making her life's on-paper perfection suddenly seem less so. The emotional weight of her predicament is straight-away lighter than the film's creators might intend, as no sense is given of the early goings of her current relationship, how she came to be married-with-child to another man less than a year after losing the love of her life, nor of what triggers her sudden flood of memories.
Petra Wright, who plays Laura, and filmmaker Ruscio were once and are no more a couple in real life, which implies that "Laura Smiles" is meant as some sort of examination of the dissolution of their relationship. If only this were more apparent; the film not only lacks a sense of urgency, but it also has little in the way of real specificity, the details that make characters seem like actual people.