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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Sherry (Gyllenhaal) moves into a halfway house after being released from prison for drugs charges.
She’s done her best to give up her addictions to drugs and alcohol and is determined to get her life back on track.
Her first priority is to reunite with her young daughter, who’s being brought up by her brother Bobby (Henke) and sister-in-law Lynette (Barkan), who treat her like she’s their own.
To make things work, Sherry needs a job – but problems from her past plague her as she finds herself offering sexual favours in exchange for the job that she wants.
As time goes on and things don’t go as smoothly for Sherry as she hoped, Lynette tries to put a wedge between Sherry and her daughter, making it even more difficult for her to get her act together.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This film survives on the strength of its performances – in particular, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s.
The film-makers don’t try to make her character very sympathetic, so it’s all the more difficult for Gyllenhaal to keep the audience with her as she struggles from one obstacle to the next.
Apart from her brother Bobby and one member of her self-help group (Trejo), almost universally every other character is antagonistic towards Sherry. Many of them have their own agenda or are simply boosting their egos by exercising their own power, but in the case of the sister-in-law, who’s perhaps the most unsympathetic character of the lot, it’s clear that she’s doing it out of love – if not for Sherry, for her daughter.
The performances are all fine, but the characters are – largely – stereotyped. And the story itself offers little that’s new or surprising. We’ve seen many films about characters trying to get their lives back on track after coming out of prison, dysfunctional families, addicts and so on, and this doesn’t really have anything fresh to say on any of these strands.
And when it has a chance to deliver a brave ending, it eschews its more dangerous beginnings and settles for a safe and comfortable denouement that leaves you cold.

Opens nationwide 27th July 2007

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