Jeez, this Gyllenhaal sure is messed up.
Newly released from prison, recovering addict Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) struggles to normalize her life so she can be a good person and a trustworthy mother to her young daughter, Lexie (Ryan Simpkins). The stresses mount as she clashes with her sober housemates, disappoints a parole officer who’s growing impatient and faces old temptations, all the while her daughter grows attached to Sherry’s brother, Bobby (Brad William Henke).
The thing about Sherrybaby that works is just how the script shows you this menacing world we live in, where no matter how much we want to get past all of our problems and faults from the past, we always have to confront our consequences. It’s hard to get past such problems in life, and you sometimes need to rely on others to make everything better. The problem with life is that sometimes those people aren’t always there to make it better.
I liked this point that the film tried to get across but too many times did a lot of this feel just bleak, and nothing else really. I never really felt drawn into the actual story because too much of this just lagged on without any real meaning, just another moment of bleakness that so many of these kitchen-sink dramas have and show about so proudly.
There was also times when I feel like a lot of this story was under-developed when it shouldn’t have been. We have these little hints here and there that she was molested by her father, reasons for her drug-addiction, and why she exchanges sexual favors with almost anyone that offers her a job or opportunity to do something. I don’t understand as to why these points in the story weren’t brought up more because if you think about it, more development within this story could have added to so much more emotion and depth as well.
The reason why Sherrybaby is a not a bad film, and more mediocre, is because of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance as Sherry Swanson. Maggie is raw and totally convincing because she goes that extra mile to make her character seem like a real human-being, rather than just another cliched drug-addict. Sherry, as a character, is pretty loose, out-of-control, and very unpredictable as to what she might do or say next, but Maggie has us believe that she is in full control the whole time and makes everything out of what she’s given to do up on the screen. The rest of the cast is pretty good but compared to Gyllenhaal, there’s no real comparison.
Consensus: Sherrybaby lacks in a convincing and actually emotional weighty story, but the near-perfect performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal is what makes this film better and actually very watchable as depressing as it may get.