Sherrybaby Explained

Director:Laurie Collyer
Producer:Marc Turtletaub
Lemore Syvan
Starring:Maggie Gyllenhaal
Brad William Henke
Sam Bottoms
Kate Burton
Giancarlo Esposito
Danny Trejo
Music:Jack Livesey
Cinematography:Russell Lee Fine
Editing:Curtiss Clayton
Joe Landauer
Distributor:IFC Films (USA)
Released:September 8, 2006 (limited)
Runtime:96 min
Country:United States
Internet Movie Database entry 0423169

Sherrybaby is a 2006 drama film written and directed by Laurie Collyer. It was screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2006 and received a limited release in the United States on September 8, 2006.

Plot summary

Sherry has been in prison for three years and is anxious to get back to her young daughter, Alexis, who has been living with Sherry's brother Bobby and his wife, Lynnette. Sherry, a former heroin addict, finds re-entering the world she left behind to be more difficult than anticipated, and admits that although she has been clean for over two years, she finds it difficult to avoid the temptation to use. After getting into a fight with another woman at the halfway house she is living in, she moves in with Bobby. Although Sherry wants to use the opportunity to become closer to Alexis, things are complicated by the fact that Lynnette thinks Sherry is an unfit mother. She insists that Alexis call Sherry by her first name instead of "mommy".

Because of the conflict between Sherry and Bobby's wife, she ends up moving out of their house and into a motel. As the story progresses, Sherry tries to be a good mother to Alexis, but she is needy and overbearing, and her efforts are upsetting to her daughter. Bobby and Lynnette resist her trying to be a larger part of Alexis' life so quickly. Sherry ends up confiding in her father, but as she cries on his shoulder, he begins touching her inappropriately. Bobby enters the room and notices what is happening, but doesn't speak and leaves the room. Sherry then leaves, upset, and goes out to find and use heroin.

After this, she goes to an AA meeting where she meets Dean, a fellow addict. He notices that she looks disheveled, knows she has been using again, and asks if he can help her. He takes her to his house, draws her a bath, and loans her clothes. She goes back to her motel room and finds her parole officer waiting. She confesses that she used drugs and asks to be put in outpatient rehab. He tells her that she doesn't qualify for outpatient at this point; she must either go to inpatient rehab or go back to prison. He gives her a time and place to report for rehab, and leaves.

Sherry meets up with Bobby and asks if she can have one more opportunity to bond with Alexis. She asks him if she can take Alexis out for the day. He agrees, under the condition that she brings Alexis back before evening. He tells Sherry he is on her side.

Sherry comes to Bobby's house to pick up Alexis, presumably to play miniature golf. She drives Alexis over the state line and they stop for lunch. As they are eating, Sherry asks Alexis if she's ever been to Florida, and whether she would like to go. At a rest stop, a woman in line at the bathroom begins berating her small son and Sherry takes the woman by the hair and curses at her for bullying her child. Alexis is frightened by her outburst and hides in a bathroom stall. Sherry, realizing that she doesn't yet have control of her life enough to provide for both of them by herself, drives Alexis back to Bobby's house. By now it is past dark, and Bobby and his wife have been worried. Alexis runs inside to see Lynnette. Bobby walks out and hugs Sherry, and she asks him whether he will help to raise her daughter, because she can't do it by herself. He tells her that he has been helping to raise Sherry's daughter, and she tells him that she realized that she had never asked him to. They embrace, and Sherry drives off into the night.

Critical Reception

Entertainment Weekly praises the film as "emotionally arresting" and "authentic and moving", and describes Gyllenhaal as "such a miracle of an actress that she makes you respond to the innocence of Sherry's desperate, selfish destruction."[1] The Christian Science Monitor also gave a positive review of the film, complimenting Collyer's "vivid eye for detail and the small, telling human moments that make a movie resonate with audiences".[2]

Awards and nominations

Chicago Film Critics Association[3] Best ActressMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=orangeNominated
Golden Globe Award[4] Best Actress - DramaMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=orangeNominated
Gotham Awards[5] Breakthrough DirectorLaurie Collyerbgcolor=orangeNominated
rowspan=2Karlovy Vary International Film Festival[6] Best ActressMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=limeWon
Crystal GlobeLaurie Collyerbgcolor=limeWon
London Film Critics' Circle[7] Best ActressMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=orangeNominated
Prism Award[8] Performance in a Feature FilmMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=limeWon
Satellite Awards[9] Best ActressMaggie Gyllenhaalbgcolor=orangeNominated
Sundance Film Festival[10] Grand Jury PrizeLaurie Collyerbgcolor=orangeNominated


External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Sherrybaby. Gleiberman. Owen. September 6, 2006. Entertainment Weekly. 2009-01-21.
  2. Web site: Sherrybaby': emotional downpour. Rainer. Peter. September 9, 2008. Christian Science Monitor. 2009-01-21.