Sherrybaby (15)

Written and Directed by Laurie Collyer
Screening at FACT from 24th-20th August 2007

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In an entertaining and thought-provoking movie, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sherry Swanson takes the acting plaudits with a powerful and convincing performance.

She plays the part of a drug addict who has recently been released from prison (one question though: how could she look so drop dead gourgeous after being banged up in the can for two years?!) and the many problems she faces in trying to team up again with her young daughter Lexi (Ryan Simpkins), who does not recognise Sherry as her natural mother.

This leads to Sherry clashing with her brother Bob (Brad William Henke) and his wife Lynn (Bridget Barkan), who have been caring for Lexi while her mother has been imprisoned. The despair at not being able to reach out and comfort her own child is portrayed with chilling effect by Gyllenhaal.

She also has to confront obstacles in getting work (she has an easy solution to this; giving the recruitment officer a blowjob); an over-officious parole officer, and false love given to her by other members of her 'family'. One shocking scene sees Sherry's father (Sam Bottoms) stroke her breasts whilst he is comforting her. It leaves you wondering whether a source of her problems stems from being abused as a child by her dad.

One of the few people who genuinely cares for Sherry is fellow ex-addict Brad, superbly played by Danny Trejo. He accepts her for what she is. She is no angel but just needs a lucky break in life.

The final scene of the film proves unrealistic, given what Sherry had been through in trying to adjust back to everyday life, but nevertheless this movie is a class act.

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