***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Released in 2006, Sherrybaby was well received by critics and was an official selection at a number of film festivals across America and Europe. Maggie Gyllenhaal in particular impressed and was nominated for a Golden Globe as well as various other awards for her performance in the lead role.

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Sherry, a woman who apparently hates wearing a bra and loves sex. More importantly though, Sherry has recently been released from a three year prison sentence; she is eager to establish a relationship with her young daughter who has been looked after by Sherry’s brother and his wife. Sherry soon learns that fitting back into normal life is a lot harder than she imagined as she faces the temptation to return to old habits but must stay away to further her relationship with her daughter.

Gyllenhaal in the lead role, and as the only recognisable name among the cast, does a great job as Sherry. She plays her part really well and manages to draw the audience in to Sherry’s world and get a real sense of the emotional state and mental workings of the character. Brad William Henke as Bobby, Sherry’s brother, puts in a good performance and is very likeable as is Danny Trejo’s character, Dean, who begins a sort of relationship with Sherry.

This film is Laurie Collyer’s directorial debut. Collyer also wrote Sherrybaby and to date this remains the only feature film that she has directed. The direction here is very good. Sherrybaby screams realism, it feels as though we are in that world, the small details are given great time and place within the story and to be honest, I think that small details can really add to the final art of the film.

Sherrybaby touches on some very serious issues. We are given the drug abuse, the alcohol abuse and the difficulty of coming out of prison and integrating back into the real world. Even sexual abuse within the family is hinted at although this is a subject glossed over and I can’t help but feel that the film would have done better to get more in depth in this part of the story.

The story of Sherrybaby is a good one, but it is a very slow burner. The film is slow paced and at times borders on the edge of boring which is a shame, but for parts of the film I found myself willing something interesting to happen. Unfortunately though, it is not until the end that I got a real sense of something from the film. In the final twenty minutes Sherry moves forward a lot more than during the rest of the film. We see her trying to bond with her daughter and is something that I would have liked to have seen more of.

Overall, Sherrybaby is a good film, but that is all. Good.

My Rating. 6/10.

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