You'd swear Maggie Gyllenhaal grew up on the streets after seeing her in this gritty indie about a recovering heroin addict trying to go straight.
Sherrybaby, the impressive feature film debut of writer/director Laurie Collyer, is a gritty and grim take on the tremendous challenge of trying to improve your life when the problems that caused you to screw it up in the first place are still there in full force. It stars Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary, Stranger Than Fiction) as Sherry Swanson, a recovering heroin addict who wants nothing more than to get her daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins) back.
When she gets out of prison (where she did a three-year stint for robbery to support her habit), Sherry reconnects with her brother Bobby (Brad William Henke) and his wife, who have been taking care of Alexis in her absence. But they're threatened by her desire to take her daughter back. When Sherry tries to go through all the proper channels--moving to a halfway house, going to AA, getting a job--she still greets the obstacles in her way with a deeply dysfunctional junky mentality.
Sherrybaby is what small independent productions are about: freedom from the commercialism that so often waters down big budget movies. Gyllenhaal is natural and believable as Sherry, and manages to make her likeable and pitiable at the same time. Both the character of Sherry and Gyllenhaal's performance are layered, and you see Sherry vacillate between fighting to do what society demands, and the impulsive slips of judgment that unwittingly contribute to her problems. She repeatedly acts out sexually and violently, such that you understand without any exposition the past hardships that led her on this path.
Sherrybaby is basically a slice of life piece about a character's struggle to navigate getting back on her feet. It is both realistic and complex--neither a Pollyanna-ish portrait of the reformed drug user who must do good, nor the all-bad loser who can never get it right. If you can only tolerate light and happy fare, this is not the movie for you. But if you're into character-driven dramas about the flip side of the Ozzie & Harriet view of the world, Sherrybaby will be your drug of choice.
What’s on the Disc:
There are no special extras on this disc.
Check out reelz.com's Sherrybaby page for clips from the film and more!