the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I write film and TV reviews at Here are synopsis' and links to those reviews.

Sometimes, a phenomenal story and an explosive performance coalesce to form a perfect film. Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

It’s not that the bleak indie Sherrybaby is a bad film. It’s not. It simply doesn’t rise to the level of a great film. Maggie Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, is an actress you simply cannot take your eyes off of.

Sherrybaby tells the story of Sherry Swanson, an ex-con and recovering drug addict trying to reorient her life after she’s released from prison. Her brother has looked after the one thing she cares about most, her 5-year-old daughter, Lexie. Obsessed with doing right by her child, Sherry grows frustrated by law enforcement oversight, her lack of a home or job, and what she perceives to be her brother and sister-in-law’s supplanted roles in Lexie’s life. It is only a matter of time before Sherry’s old habits catch up with her again.

Sherry is the sort of woman whom many people have simply given up on. It would have been easy for the audience to have done the same were it not for the mesmerizing performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who has had a wonderful past year (World Trade Center, Stranger Than Fiction). Authentic, sexually candid, and charged with a dynamism at once bubbly and melancholy, Gyllenhaal’s fearless and effervescent performance is nothing short of captivating. I sincerely cannot recall an actress who has received the sorts of gushing praise Gyllenhaal has for this film only to be ignored come the Academy Award nominations. Shame on you, Oscar!

To read the full review, click here.


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