CHERRY – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Cherry, the film, is based on the hit semi-autobiographical novel about former army soldier and former drug addict-turned-author Nico Walker. It’s hard to translate such a raw book about one man’s epic and twisted love story. Because, despite all the awful things Cherry (Tom Holland) goes through, war, drug addiction, robbing banks, they are not the core of the story. The true heart of the film is the love between Cherry and Emily (Ciara Bravo).
Cherry uses several stylized film-looks to tell this off-kilter journey of a disenfranchised young man from Cleveland, Ohio. One who meets the love of his life in college, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions. The biggest mistake of all was his decision to join the Army just because he thought Emily broke up with him. Cherry is an unhinged character who is only anchored by his one true love, Emily, who ultimately becomes his wife. When Cherry returns home from his service as an Army medic in the Iraq war, he is a hero. However, he battles the demons of undiagnosed PTSD and spirals into drug addiction, surrounding himself with a funny and dysfunctional group of depraved misfits. Emily is sick of trying to help him recover, so she joins him in his spiral into addiction. Sadly, the two waste away together. Once Cherry begins robbing banks to support their habit, it’s the beginning of the end.
Cherry is a gritty film that at times dares you to look at the couple as they waste away becoming hard-core junkies. The film is narrated by Cherry from the start and lets you know this guy’s mindset who believes that perhaps the gift of life was wasted on him as he struggles to find his place in the world. This is a very long, maybe too long, coming-of-age story that covers a lot of ground. The last half of the film is so good that it’s worth sitting through the long first part. That being said, it makes the movie uneven. Too bad because the acting from the whole cast is spot on. And the cinematography of Newton Thomas Sigel is simply haunting at times. From the look of the brutal fighting scenes in the Iraq war to the dark deteriorating existence of the drugged-out couple, the cinematography is like thick, rich honey. This only adds to the Russo brothers directing style that brings energy and dark humor to most scenes. The directors chose to shoot and edit Cherry with stylized visual flair while filming their hometown and it paid off.
I give Cherry a 3.5-star rating. It’s not a date movie, but this love story is worth watching.
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Written by: Angela Russo-Otstot, Jessica Goldberg, Nico Walker (Novel)
Running Time: 2hr 22min
Release: Apple TV+ March 12th
Starring: Tom Hollard, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.