Tuesday, January 24, 2006


2006 Sundance Film Festival
★ ★
Sherrybaby, by first-time director Laurie Collyer, is a movie that is trying to find its direction. The premise, while perhaps unique, feels painfully familiar. Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal)has had a very tough life. The film opens with her getting out of prison where she kicked heroin and found God. She returns to her New Jersey home to reconnect with her daughter. But life is difficult for an ex-con and she struggles with the challenges of staying clean, finding a job, etc. I feel like I’ve seen this movie a hundred times before, or at least others like it.

Maggie Gyllenhaal turns in another outstanding performance, but it’s not enough to save this Sherrybaby, which moves slowly and is burdened by a depressing, my-life-is-unraveling tonality. There are other parts and characters, but they are poorly written, shallow and underdeveloped.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never liked addiction movies. I know it’s hard to kick anything—drugs, alcohol, gambling—and I’m very sympathetic to the tragedies that come from addictions. I just don’t find reliving them very entertaining, even with a spoonful of redemption.


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