Friday, January 26, 2007


The name missing from Oscar's list

By Edward Copeland
There is a moment in sherrybaby where Maggie Gyllenhaal gives one of the purest expressions of the damaged child still dwelling within the adult. Sherry (Gyllenhaal), newly paroled from prison, is seeing her father for the first time since her release in a crowded family gathering and she begins joyously jumping up and down on a sofa, showing her joy as she tries to get her dad's attention. As with most things in Sherry's life, the happiness is short-lived, but Gyllenhaal's performance is far from it — this may well be her best work yet.

I have to give kudos to the HFPA for including her in their Golden Globe nominations this year. I only wish the Academy had had the foresight to follow their lead, because she definitely deserved the spot.

Written and directed by Laurie Collyer, sherrybaby would play like any number of indie films you've seen before about recovering addicts and moms trying to re-establish connection to their children if it weren't for Gyllenhaal, who makes the entire enterprise seem fresh. She's funny and sad, yet she doesn't leap through hoops to make the audience love her.

You have to wonder whether or not her daughter should stay in the care of her brother and his wife, given Sherry's erratic nature, but at the same time, you recognize that they are treating her a bit shabbily as well.

The supporting cast does well, but this is Gyllenhaal's movie from beginning to end and unlike other 2006 films with great performances that still made you wonder whether watching the film was worth your time, Gyllenhaal's work here more than makes you grateful you spent the time with Sherry.

Labels: ,

I just finished watching Sherrybaby - which I'd intended to see anyway, but which I decided to see immediately on the strength of your review. I agree with everythhing you had to say about it, and a few additional comments to make regardiing its leading lady.

I was unfamiliar with Maggie Gyllenhaal prior to her breakout turn in Secretary - the best performance given by any actress in 2002. Since then, I've been impressed by her sterling work in subpar entries like the execrable Mona Lisa Smile and Happy Endings, and dissapointed by the extent to which she's been wasted in more interesting fare like Adaptation and Casa de los Babys. This year, she was good once again in World Trade Center, but with the one-two punch of Sherrybaby and Stranger than Fiction - two very different roles which really allowed her to shine - I think she has now cemented her status as the most talented and incisive young American actress working in films today. Among her contemporaries, only Kate Winslet can match her.

Winslet is getting the parts she deserves...let's hope that there are more filmmakers, like Steven Shainberg and Laurie Collyer, who have the insight - and the courage - to cast Gyllenhaal in vehicles that are worthy of her talents. If they do, we have a lot to look forward to.
Just saw this last night, and have to agree that Maggie G gives one helluva performance. Very brave, and not overdone. Too bad it didn't get an Oscar nom, at least. The sad part of the story is that she's not able to take care of her daughter because she's still just a little girl herself, despite how much she wants to be a mother. You get a good sense of what happened to her in a few scenes with her family, one with her father in particular. It's a movie, and certainly a performance, that deserves to be seen.

- John
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Follow edcopeland on Twitter

 Subscribe in a reader