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3.6 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Maggie Gyllenhaal is receiving lots of Oscar buzz for her portrayal of a troubled woman trying to overcome her personal demons and put her life back on track.


A disturbing film about a recovering drug addict trying to regain control of her life, Sherrybaby succinctly depicts what can happen when want and desire aren't offset by control. In this bleak indie film, Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stranger Than Fiction, Secretary) has just been released from a three-year stint in prison. Dressed in her inappropriate uniform of a halter top and oh-so-high platform heels, she goes to brother's house to see her 5-year-old daughter, Lexie (Ryan Simpkins). Sherry is determined to be a mother to her child, but without a home, job, or any other form of stability, she grows frustrated and jealous of her brother and sister-in-law's roles in Lexie's life. Tall and willowy, Gyllenhaal brings a sad desperation and simmering sexuality to the role. Sherry's middle-class childhood was a blur of sex and drugs, and she seems incapable of breaking out of that destructive trap. While the script by first-time feature film director Laurie Collyer isn't wholly original, the picture moves at a good pace, giving insight as to why Sherry's resigned to using sex to get what she wants. While the family secret doesn't come as a complete surprise, it is somewhat perplexing that no one addresses it. Ultimately, it's Gyllenhaal who makes you care about a character that most people would've given up on. --Jae-Ha Kim

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Bottoms, Michelle Hurst, Sandra Rodríguez
  • Directors: Laurie Collyer
  • Writers: Laurie Collyer
  • Producers: Ethan Smith, Jeb Brody, Lemore Syvan, Marc Turtletaub
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: January 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sherrybaby" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Unflinchingly absorbing from the first scene to the last, Maggie Gyllenhaal brings a candid, earthy aura to "Sherrybaby," her most impressive acting vehicle up to this point. New to DVD, this gut-wrenching look at an ex-convict's struggle to establish control over her life truly sizzles.

Any doubt of Gyllenhaal's abilities is erased only minutes into the film. At the drop of a hat, she makes Sherry Swanson turn from sexual to vulnerable, violent to passive, indifferent to invested, self-assured to insecure. Through it all, she is endearing enough to win over even the most ignorant viewers - the kind who shield their eyes when real-life Sherrys pass them on the street.

When we first meet her, she saunters off the bus in Newark, finally home after three years in prison. Contrasting with the business suits that surround her skimpy strawberry blonde get-up, she hollers after a man merely for brushing against her in a hurry to cross the street; the unfolding of a misfit begins.

Parole Officer Hernandez is played by the ever-brilliant Giancarlo Esposito, who has a knack for playing deceivingly straightforward authority figures. Appropriately hard-headed in his treatment of Sherry yet sympathetic to her misfortune, his character provides a three-dimensional look at the work of those who look after prisoners post-incarceration.

Sherry's heart-rending yet uneasy reunion with her tiny daughter Alexis, portrayed by Ryan Simpkins, sets the stage for the crux of the plot. Having been raised during her mother's incarceration by Sherry's brother Bobby and his wife Lynette, played by Brad William Henke and Bridget Barkan, Alexis is thrown a curveball when her mother suddenly arrives.
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Format: DVD
Laurie Collyer both wrote and directed this very fine little film that examines the world in which addicted people live, even after they have 'paid their debt to society' by being imprisoned. She does not play to the sympathy of the audience: she rather empathizes with one woman's plight in her struggle to gain control of a life she has never been able to successfully assemble.

Sherry Swanson (a brilliant tour de force by Maggie Gyllenhaal) has been in prison for robbery, drug possession and heroin addiction for several years and as the film opens she is released to her hometown in New Jersey where she is assigned a parole officer (Giancarlo Esposito) and a 'safe haven' home. She longs to see her five-year-old daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins) whom she barely knows and who has been living with her brother

Bobby (the excellent Brad William Henke) and his wife Lynette (Bridget Barkan). After encountering much prejudice and abuse heaped on ex-cons looking for work, Sherry manages to find a job working with kids and tries desperately to re-connect with Alexis but is rebuffed by Lynette and warned by Bobby that should she bring drugs in the house he will send her back to prison.

Sherry stumbles through her out-of-prison existence, connecting with old friends at an AA meeting, having a fling with her old flame Dean (Danny Trejo), attending a birthday party for Alexis given at her parents home where her father (Sam Bottoms) comforts her in a sexually intrusive way, and struggling with her roommates until she moves out on her own. She aches from not belonging, from the fact that her life on the 'outside' is as much a prison as on the 'inside', and she returns to drugs.
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Format: DVD
Maggie Gyllenhaal emerges as an undeniably powerful actress in the title role of this low-budget 2006 indie. Rather than providing her usual scene-stealing turn, she gets to convey the nuances of a full-blown character by delivering an astonishing range of emotion as a struggling ex-convict. The film reminds me quite a bit of Ulu Grosbard's overlooked 1978 "Straight Time" in which Dustin Hoffman plays a paroled ex-burglar who cannot shake his former life. Both provide incisive looks into the hardscrabble existence of people trying desperately to reform, but in doing so, the stories become so desultory and the situations start to have a by-the-numbers feeling that the dramatic momentum dissipates toward their inevitable conclusions.

Directed and written by Laurie Collyer, the film takes an unflinching look at Sherry Swanson, a former heroin addict just released on parole after three years in prison for robbery. Returning home to New Jersey, she is desperate to stay clean and sober in order to reclaim her young daughter Alexis from her sympathetic brother Bobby and his conflicted wife Lynette. Without drugs, Sherry's addictive behavior manifests itself in cigarettes, alcohol and emboldened sexual acts to get what she needs. Yet, her biggest addiction is her relentless pursuit of an idealized image of herself as a mother, and it is her disconnect with reality that produces the film's most poignant moments. Otherwise, the movie gets increasingly frustrating to watch because Collyer provides only hints of what Sherry brought her to her dilemma. What we see mainly are flashes of short-tempered narcissism when we see people understandably looking to emotionally disengage from her, including her indiscriminate father.
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