She lives in the present ... she loves in the past
"Laura Smiles" is an alarmingly effective portrait of a woman's mental breakdown. We are introduced to "Laura" at her happiest time, in a warm, loving relationship with her fiancé (a very appealing Kip Pardue) in the city, literally the love of her life. In flashbacks, we then see the sweet development of this relationship out of order as these moments become brightly lit and colored memories that desperately intrude on her later in life, as she becomes consumed with guilt and remorse over his fate. These feelings start to overwhelm her current life as a wife and mother. As something inconsequential in what she calls her "suburban drudgery" triggers the past -- in the supermarket, cooking, cleaning, at a school play-- she acts out increasingly aberrantly to counteract the feelings they generate, especially when she can no longer distinguish past from present from dreams, recalling Blanche Du Bois.