SherryBaby
2/4
poster

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Drama
Year 2006
Duration 96 min
Rating 6.7 out of 10
Description: "No one makes it alone."
Comments: I saw the film back in September 2006, and I can still remember what a strong, dauntless performance Maggie Gyllenhaal delivered in w-d Laurie Collyer's debut film "SherryBaby". Yes, I believe the young child actor (Ryan Simpkins) portraying her daughter Alexis is remarkable, but Ms. Gyllenhaal's Sherry Swanson character inhabited stays. She was in d- Marc Foster's "Stranger Than Fiction" playing opposite Will Ferrell, it's another dependable delivery as expected. To truly appreciate Ms. Gyllenhaal beyond her famed role opposite James Spader in d- Steven Shainberg's "Secretary" 2002 (screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson), one really should watch her in "SherryBaby."

The film appears to be so simply delivered that it's more than meets the eye. Probably, not until you discovered/realized the possible reason(s) behind her drug habit and what drove Sherry to her irregular/irresponsible behaviors displayed, it could be difficult to watch the 'destructive' almost hopelessly helpless scenes in the film. W-d Collyer took the risk of not trying to provide palatable or toned-down storyline, but gave it to us tough as it should be, but thoughtful. It's hard medicine at best with no apology. And hope, in spite of it all, is what Collyer wants to generate. Hang in there, the ending is worth waiting for and I love the ending credit roll song (which, most of the time I noticed, provides the central theme of what the film we just watched): "When I Find My Life" - a song by Marianne Faithful, sung by Dana Fuchs [1]. The lyrics were spot-on describing the sentiments we experienced with Sherry and her family. She is so lucky to have such a caring, observant brother, Bobby Swanson - a sensitive, low-key performance by Brad William Henke which I appreciate. There are also steady supporting cast from Danny Trejo as 12-step veteran/eventual friend Dean, Giancarlo Esposito as the firm (though not without heart) Parole Officer Hernandez, Bridget Barkan as Bobby's wife Lynette (whom Alexis gotten used to and grew to love), Samuel Bottoms as Dad Swanson (not an easy distinction of the father-daughter relationship at first glance). Together, filmmaker Laurie Collyer and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal gave us a worthwhile "SherryBaby" - it may not be pleasant for everyone (NFE) but it dares - not reticent in telling like it is.

This film does remind me of w-d Olivier Assayas' "Clean" 2004, the French production with Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, also about a (drug/prison) rehabilitated mother trying to redeem herself and gain back her son's faith. (Available on DVD). Also, reminds me of w-d Cristina Comencini's "Don't Tell" 2005, an Italian film aka 'The Beast in the Heart', involves a sister-brother supportive relationship of similar topic. "SherryBaby" is by far grittier in its depiction and the tumultuous emotional journey complete.

[1] The lyrics of the song "When I Find My Life" is available online. Such poignant words: 'Oh, i will free the bird in me, Oh, when i find my life. What i always knew could be, Oh, when i find my life.' 'I will see the truth in me' 'I will let go the pain' 'I will reach beyond the strain' 'Fear of lost and fear of pain'. Enter for search: lyrics, "when I find my life" -- and you should get results to Marianne Faithful lyrics.