The moment I read the back of the DVD cover, I was instantly drawn to the film. This is a story of the rehabilitation of an ex-convict who has just been released from prison thereby promising a character-based story. I’ve never particularly been drawn to plot-based films; the best films have great characters so I was excited to endure Sherry Baby.
We first see Sherry in the opening sequence; listening to her ear phones staring out of the bus window bopping her head whilst she looks around the town. As she gets off the bus a man in a suit barges past her and she shouts out to him to acknowledge he has pushed her. As she looks around the public for validation and sinks into her brown paper bag for a cigarette, we are instantly drawn to Sherry the misfit, the misunderstood, the confrontational, the drama queen, the innocent. All these things.
The somewhat compulsive, ex-heroin addict, Sherry Swanson, is played by the ingenious, Maggie Gyllenhaal. She arrives at her halfway house and the audience learns she is keen to see her daughter Alexis as soon as possible. Gyllenhall is remarkable in this film, we see Sherry slowly try and piece her life back together again by getting a job, attending support groups, forming a relationship with a man and with her daughter.
The sheer brilliance of the film is it’s raw honesty about life – Sherry comes to accept she cannot look after her daughter on her own and needs support. We learn of her troublesome childhood and present hood involving her father and come to admire her strength. Sherry Baby is a stunning film reflecting a young woman trying to live – At times the film doesn’t really know where it’s going but Gyllenhaal manages to lead the way.
Director: Laurie Collyer
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Runtime: 96 min