February 9th, 2007



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Still of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ryan Simpkins in SherrybabyStill of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ryan Simpkins in SherrybabyStill of Sam Bottoms and Maggie Gyllenhaal in SherrybabyStill of Maggie Gyllenhaal in SherrybabyStill of Danny Trejo in SherrybabyLaurie Collyer and Ryan Simpkins in Sherrybaby

Sherry Swanson returns home to New Jersey after serving a three year prison sentence. Eager to reestablish a relationship with her young daughter...

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 6.7/10 (7,352 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Director: Laurie Collyer

Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Bottoms

Sherry Swanson returns home to New Jersey after serving a three year prison sentence. Eager to reestablish a relationship with her young daughter, Sherry soon discovers that coming back to the world she left behind is far more difficult than she had planned.

Maggie Gyllenhaal - Sherry Swanson
Michelle Hurst - Dorothy Washington
Sandra Rodríguez - Desi
Anna Simpson - Sabrina
Giancarlo Esposito - Parole Officer Hernandez
Caroline Clay - Parole Officer Murphy
Rio Hackford - Andy Kelly
Brad William Henke - Bobby Swanson
Bridget Barkan - Lynette Swanson
Ryan Simpkins - Alexis Parks
Stephen Peabody - Mr. Monroe
Danny Trejo - Dean Walker
Sam Bottoms - Bob Swanson Sr.
Kate Burton - Marcia Swanson
Michael Dillon - Child at Birthday Party

Taglines: No one makes it alone.


Official Website: Official site | Official site |

Release Date: 9 February 2007

Filming Locations: Mountainside, New Jersey, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $34,774 (USA) (10 September 2006) (5 Screens)

Gross: $622,806 (Worldwide) (28 October 2007)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:

Did You Know?

Ryan Simpkins lost four teeth on the set of Sherrybaby.

Continuity: When Sherry visits her parole officer at the start of the movie she states that her brother lives at 1334 Ridge Street. At the end of the movie, after Sherry drops Lexie off, the number on the post outside her brother's house clearly reads "1642."

[Sherry has just sat down at the beginning of an AA meeting]
Dean Walker: My name is Dean, I'm an alcoholic and an addict
[Entire group says, "Hi Dean."]
Dean Walker: Genesis Recovery is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that may solve their common problems and help others to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. Is their anyone here tonight who feels the need to drink or use?
[Sherry raises her hand as she bites her nails]
Dean Walker: Go ahead little sister. Don't be shy.
Sherry Swanson: Ahm, I'm Sherry, I'm a addict.

User Review

A brilliant performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal

Rating: 7/10

Finally a film that you feel does not purposely play at the collective heartstrings of humanity or jerk you for tears every chance it gets. In spite of its tragic and heartfelt content of a mother reconnecting with her 6-year-old daughter after she has been released from prison, Sherrybaby moves back into realistic mode, and feels truly engaging because of it.

Undoubtedly, Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance in the film reeks of Oscar-bait for it is simply an excellent performance. Sadly I think the academy will overlook 'Sherrybaby' because the film is simply not good enough on its own and the sum of its individual components rarely, if ever, do justice to its titular actress. However, awards are not everything and rest assured that the film still has plenty to offer. In the front row for this is its realistic and unshowy core, sewn together by Maggie Gyllenhaal as ex-con and former teenage-mom-and-drug-addict Sherry. Upon returning to her old life, she finds that it is nothing like she left it. Her daughter Alexis now lives with her brother and his wife Lynette, both of whom have become strong parental figures for the young girl, much to the dismay and frustration of Sherry who wants nothing more than to re-build a bond of trust and love with her daughter, but who now finds Lynette a barrier.

This frustration makes and propels 'Sherrybaby'. It stems from a variety of things that the film touches upon at several points: the seedy halfway home Sherry is sent to live at upon her release, the trouble she has readjusting herself to society and to work ("I'll suck your dick if you give me the job I want."), her abusive relationship with her father, her coping drug addiction and the fact that Lynette is discouraging Alexis from calling Sherry 'mommy'. The film is evenly peppered with these problems but luckily it never tips over into gloominess. What it does most, however, it plunge bravely into the white trash culture of America: junk-food, fat people, seedy jobs and apartments, pinning its scantily-clad centre Sherry somewhere in between.

I think Gyllenhaal captures her character with effortless conviction. From the mood swings, frustration, confused maternal love to the ultimate frailty, she translates every component of her wreck of a character with perfect emotional transparency. It all translates into a very real and heartrending performance. Best of all, she never falls prey to showiness or exaggerated melodrama; she keeps it down-to-earth. Soon Sherry turns into a manifestation of the title 'Sherrybaby' as she finds herself sucked back into her teenage life of sorts: she craves attention, she is helpless, she wants to do drugs, she sleeps around. All the while she remains on the outside of things looking in because she has been absent for so many years.

Certainly all performances in the film hold up pretty well. It is especially interesting to see Danny Trejo in a role in which he is actually nice for a change – a bit of a sleaze, true – but still on the side of good (as opposed to rentable bad-guy/thug). All the interactions between the characters follow the theme of the film; it is realistic. But 'Sherrybaby' is not devoid of faults. At all. One of its key shortcomings is its lack of any clear point. You get the feeling most scenes do not serve any purpose other than to give us a feel for the way things are run (wow, I feel like I'm writing about Scorsese) in the white trash culture. There is in this way no clear narrative structure. What is worse is that there is little or no humour to ease the mood, and nearly NO music score throughout the film.

In fact, dissecting the film would probably reveal individual components that could not even pretend to equal the sum of it all. Thankfully, Maggie Gyllenhaal elicits so much sympathy as Sherry that it does not really matter.

7 out of 10


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