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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It sort of rambled on and had too many things that didn't need to be included without actually wrapping it up.Published 10 days ago by Patricia Utley
Maggie Gyllenhaal is amazing in this film. She portrays this complex character with nuance and a certain pervasive sadness, even when the character is manic. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Marisa
This movie started out hopeful, and fizzles toward the middle of the movie, and leaves you hanging the rest of the movie. A great background distraction movie. Read morePublished 18 days ago by DeeM
Maggie does a great job portraying a drug addict and all the family dynamics that produced her situation.Published 18 days ago by Mike Smelser
Great performance my Maggie Gyllenhaal. Would have liked the movie to focus more on what obviously drove her to drugs, her father's molestation,Published 1 month ago by lt