Sherrybaby (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

Review byMatthew Turner25/07/2007

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Brilliantly written, superbly directed and emotionally engaging indie drama with a terrific central performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal. This is one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by first time writer-director Laurie Collyer, Sherrybaby stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sherry Swanson, a recovering drug addict who gets out of prison and tries to reconnect with her 9-year-old daughter, Lexi (Ryan Simpkins), who's being looked after by Sherry's brother Bob (Brad William Henke) and his wife Lynn (Bridget Barkan). She also tries to hold down a hard-earned job with children, but she struggles with her addiction and clashes with her officious parole officer (Giancarlo Esposito).

The Good
Maggie Gyllenhaal is terrific as Sherry – after seeing the film, it's hard not to conclude that she was criminally overlooked at the Oscars last year. It's a powerful, emotionally raw performance and Gyllenhaal and Collyer don't shy away from showing us Sherry's flaws as well as her good points – Sherry can be as infuriating as she is heart-breaking.

Collyer also gets superb performances from her supporting cast, particularly Simpkins (whose interactions with Gyllenhaal are extremely believable) and Danny Trejo as Dean, a fellow ex-addict who begins a relationship with Sherry. It's a treat to see Trejo given such a decent part and he clearly relishes the opportunity to play something other than the thugs or henchmen he's usually cast as.

The Great
Collyer's script is excellent and there are several memorable scenes. The film also resists the usual cliches – for example, Lynn could easily have been the villain of the film, but Collyer is generous enough to make her at least partially sympathetic (aided by Bridget Barkan's excellent performance).

Similarly, the film is commendably subtle in places, notably a casually shocking scene with speaks volumes about the source of Sherry's problems, without anyone actually vocalising it.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is a thoroughly engaging drama that deserves to be seen. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Sherrybaby (15)
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Content updated: 23/07/2018 12:51

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