ON LIFETIME ANY
Chicago sage Don Selle, with an enviable track record
on such matters, named Maggie Gyllenhaal as 2006’s best actress for
sherrybaby, and that recommendation was enough to rent it. Written
and directed by New Jersey born and raised Laurie Collyer, the film takes
place in the state and it’s about Sherry, after being released from prison
for stealing money to feed her drug habit, trying to reestablish ties with
her young daughter Alexis while under the watchful eyes of family and local
authorities. It’s a decent “home made” movie, and with a few minor
cuts will end up on Lifetime any minute, but it’s seen-it-all-before perfunctory,
with the expected pitfalls, emotional crashes, drug relapses. And, no surprise
either, Daddy Dearest as handy culprit. The only thing missing—and oh,
how lucky the viewers—is the obligatory lezbo stuff. (A living room
scene with Sherry’s sister-in-law warned of its imminent threat.) Two honest
bits: the parole system’s unwillingness to send ex-cons violating the rules
back to serve additional time because prisons don’t want them and the ending.
Gyllenhaal manages to carry on in spite of the poor and
difficult-to-respond-to performance by the child Ryan Simpkins as Alexis.
(When noticing that she’s getting lines supplied to her off camera, you wonder,
beyond the economics of an independent production, why she wasn’t replaced.)
An unattractive droopiness hangs on Gyllenhaal’s frame and she uses it for
the character; the slack does the acting.
Text COPYRIGHT © 2007 RALPH BENNER All