Sherrybaby  [DVD]
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Powerful and emotional drama about a young mother's attempts to regain custody of her son. Writer-director Laurie Collyer's feature debut stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sherry Swanson, a recovering heroin addict, who after parole from prison is determined to get her life back on track. Sherry's main objective is to re-establish a relationship with her young daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins), currently cared for by her brother Bobby (Brad William Henke) and his wife Lynnette (Bridget Barkan), who secretly wants to keep her. As Sherry battles to keep on the straight and narrow, she learns to play by her own rules, all the time aware that one wrong move could send her back to jail.
Giving the wonderful Maggie Gyllenhaal an all-too-rare leading performance, Sherrybaby is a moving, well told story of a recovering addict who, ultimately, is looking to be reunited with her daughter.
Sound a little bit TV movie of the week? Then youre not counting upon the considerable force of the films leading lady. Here, Gyllenhaal gives a career-best performance as Sherry Swanson, dragging the film single-handedly into a feature of real note. Its an award-worthy turn, and one that casting directors would be well advised to take note of.
The rest of Sherrybaby, inevitably, cant live up to Gyllenhaals standards, but it has quite a go. Writer-director Laurie Collyer makes a sound feature film debut (basing it loosely around the experiences of one of her friends), delivering an emotional flick with genuine depth and feeling to it. Layering in the various obstacles that sit in Sherrys way, her script gives her lead actress plenty to get her teeth into, and the movie gels well as a result.
Running to just over an hour and a half, Sherrybaby is wise too not to outstay its welcome. Because as it stands, when the end credits role, youll have been treated to one of the best performances by a Hollywood actress in leading times, and a tight, memorable drama too. --Jon Foster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
with the promise to keep of the drugs, which I thought she played this character very well
I honestly in no way want to be detrimental to the story on offer here, these are realistic problems that are handled adroitly and given care and attention by all involved. Whilst the lead performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal is right from the top draw, providing evidence that a fine actress is there if she wants to keep challenging herself. I just felt so flat after watching it, what has it achieved come the finale? What makes this stand out from the ream of similar pictures that have dealt with these kind of topics over the years? The answer, sadly, is nothing, perhaps we are at such a desensitised stage in cinema that sex for favours, drugs are hell and destitute ex cons fail to engage us? Even the curve ball thrown in here is very much expected, we feel angry and sickened, yes, but it ultimately comes off as being a shock tactic, no matter how real it is.
I fully understand that there are people who will appreciate the subtle slow burn of the piece, not every one likes the sledge hammer approach that we get in something like Requiem For A Dream for example. Yet in spite of its competent and poignant approach work, Sherrybaby falls way way short of making the impact that I'm sure director/writer Laurie Collyer would have aimed for, and that's as much a shame as Sherry Swanson's life is in the film. 6/10
The film begins when a young woman named Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is released from prison, meets her parole officer and starts looking for a job - and also tries to repair her relationship with her little daughter Alexis, who in her absence was raised by her brother and his wife. It is going to be a very bumpy ride, as Sherry is a former heroine addict - and the hardships she faces make her crave a moment of articificial bliss... She will get however some help from another former convict/addict, Dean Walker (Danny Trejo).
This is a very tough film, so tough that by moments I found it almost impossible to watch - especially in the most heartbreaking moments between Sherry and Alexis. I found this film more disturbing than most of the horrors I saw, even if finally not so much happens, other than day to day struggle of a broken, suffering human being.
There are some hints about Sherry's past and they make this film even tougher to watch... but I will say no more here.
The performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal is incredible and I am very surprised that she wasn't at least nominated for an Oscar. She very much carries this film on her shoulders - and other parts of her body, which she displays here a lot... After watching her in this film and in "Secretary" I am in awe of her talent and also of her courage, because she sure as hell doesn't pick easy roles... Danny Trejo gives also a great show in a rather atypical role. Giancarlo Esposito (of "Breaking Bad" fame) is also very good as a tough, no-nonsense parole officer.Read more ›
However, Sherry has a few personal demons that won’t seem to let her go entirely straight. For a start, she’s promiscuous, craves hard drugs and isn’t slow to use her fists if she thinks she will. All in all this would normally make any ‘lead character’ pretty unlikable. However, I think most people will still root for Sherry. Because behind all that is a deeply troubled soul who, in her heart, is trying to do good, only her past just won’t seem to let her.
Plus Gyllenhaal plays the part with just enough balance to show Sherry’s bad and good qualities. She’s certainly no ‘traditional’ lead character, but her frailties are there for all to see – and don’t we all have some of those?
As the story progresses, we learn more about her past and, even though it’s not spelt out to us, can put together what made her that way.
Sherrybaby is worth seeing if you enjoy poignant film-making that really gets you to root for a damaged character and makes you want to see them succeed despite the odds.
I won’t go into too many plot points, as I don’t want to give too much away, but, as I said earlier, it does deal with numerous ‘hard-hitting’ topics. Just because you don’t see too much (graphically) doesn’t mean that it’s not lurking beneath the surface.
Gyllenhaal didn’t get an Oscar nod for her performance, but that doesn’t mean her portrayal wasn’t Oscar-worthy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maggie Gyllenhaal is always interesting and sexy in the films that she chooses, this one is not one of her best, but it is well acted and very believable.Published on 17 Aug. 2013 by Trythisitisgood
Maggie gyllenhaal puts in an excellent performance in "sherry baby", but this film was not as interesting as some of her other films.Published on 30 May 2013 by a.c. franklin
I quite enjoyed this film although it falls short of 'Secretary'. A good film though for fans of Maggie GyllenhaalPublished on 6 Mar. 2013 by DavidJ