Sherrybaby

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Brad William Henke, Danny Trejo, Giancarlo Esposito

Director: Laurie Collyer

Does everyone actually deserve a second chance and even if they actually got one, what would they do with it? A common question which this very unique film doesn’t answer, but rather shows you just how difficult it is to turn your life around.

Bad luck or is it bad environment? Either way Sherry hasn’t exactly had a fairytale upbringing, in fact nightmarish would be a better description of her life so far. Still she gets her chance with an early parole and brimming with enthusiasm for her new found freedom she is eager to make something of her life. However the best plans or intentions don’t always lead to the desired goal, so despite her efforts, her past history of abusing and being abused forces her crawling back into her dreary world of all kinds of self abuse. As all of us eventually come face to face with our own sense of reality, Sherry soon finds herself in such territory and figures out that when you actually stop to really look at yourself, what you see staring back at you can be heart breaking.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is simply amazing here, she’s the queen of indie – drama! Passionate, vibrant, strong but crumbling like a leaf when faced with the reality of her past, her portrayal of Sherry as the kind of character you care for and feel sorrow for, but at the same time you abhor, hits just the right note balancing between tragic victim and prolific self abuser.

The direction is very strait-laced, trying not to force the audience to get enthralled by the heroine of the story but rather allowing the audience to be just as uncertain as Sherry is about where she’s going. This proves to be a poor way of pushing this story along as at times it comes across as being uncertain of its message causing the film to falter briefly.

Nonetheless the dramatic fireworks from Gyllenhaal make this a powerful yet simple and immensely watchable drama.

3 out of 6 stars

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