Action / Drama

Plot summary

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Top cast

Giancarlo Esposito Photo
Giancarlo Esposito as Parole Officer Hernandez
Kate Burton Photo
Kate Burton as Marcia Swanson
Maggie Gyllenhaal Photo
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sherry Swanson
Danny Trejo Photo
Danny Trejo as Dean Walker
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
753.85 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.44 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S 5 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonspinner556 / 10

Raw, painful character study

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays recently-paroled addict Sherry Swanson, an East Coast single mom struggling to stay clean and get to know her estranged pre-teen daughter whose been living with Sherry's brother. Gyllenhaal runs the risk of being completely unlikable playing this hard-shelled woman, one with a short fuse and no concept of how to live a straight life (to get her way, she uses her body); however, the role is a dream for a dramatic actress, and Gyllenhaal goes way out on a limb with her characterization. It is a brave, blistering acting turn, with nary a false note, and while the plot elements don't quite bloom and some sequences feel disappointingly aimless, Maggie Gyllenhaal is remarkably consistent, scary, ridiculously tough and straightforward, and so honest that her thoughts come out unedited--she's a human cliffhanger. The movie is really about dealing with your anger and your shame, and it's directed toward a very satisfying finish, but that doesn't make many painful scenes any easier to watch. When some people screw up, they tend to do it in full view of the world; this is Sherry Swanson--and while she's angry and hurt and frustrated, writer-director Laurie Collyer is careful not to alienate us from Sherry's feelings. We share in them--without sentimentality--and the returns are worthy but tough to shake off. **1/2 from ****

Reviewed by jboothmillard6 / 10


Just like Secretary before it, this is provocative independent film with some very sexy moments, and all done by the same leading actress. Basically twenty-something Sherry Swanson (Golden Globe nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal) has served a three year prison sentence for a theft charge, she is also a recovering heroin addict, and eager to change she goes on parole and enters the Genesis House, a halfway house for other female paroled women. She uses sex most of the time to get what she wants, and she does it on house manager Andy Kelly (Rio Hackford),and also oral on her job placement counsellor to get a job working in children day care. Wanting to reunite with her daughter Alexis Parks (Ryan Simpkins),she is fighting the urge to start using again, but fellow AA member Dean Walker (Danny Trejo) knows how she is feeling and tries to help her get through it. Alexis's carers, Sherry's sister Bobby (Brad William Henke) and sister-in-law Lynette (Bridget Barkan) don't believe that Sherry can make any real change, they even insist that Alexis calls her be her real name, and their doubts are proved when Sherry dabbles in some heroin again. She knows this will ruin her chances to see Alexis, and she decides to be honest and admit to it, but her only options to change are becoming inpatient or going back to prison. Sherry manages to get Bobby to agree to spend some time with Alexis, and she takes her to lunch, only to scare her with some shouting, making her wet her pants, and the film ends with Sherry driving away, presumably going to get detox. Also starring Giancarlo Esposito as Parole Officer Hernandez, Sam Bottoms as Bob Swanson Sr., Kate Burton as Marcia Swanson and Michelle Hurst as Dorothy Washington. Gyllenhaal is very naturalist and fantastic in the leading performance, she is the whole reason to watch this very affective drama with some harrowing subjects. Good!

Reviewed by Woodyanders9 / 10

Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in this excellent and affecting slice-of-life indie drama

Tragic and troubled recovering drug addict and former convict Sherry Swanson (a remarkably brave, touching, and fearless performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal) attempts to get her life back on track and reconnect with her estranged daughter Alexis (a fine and moving portrayal by Ryan Simpkins) after being released from prison. Writer/director Laurie Collyer maintains a tough, gritty, and resolutely unsentimental tone throughout, firmly grounds the seamy story in a plausibly sordid everyday reality, brings a surprising sexual frankness to the edgy material, and wrings plenty of wrenching poignancy in an unforced and organic manner. Moreover, Collyer warrants additional praise for not only handling an upsetting incest subplot with admirable taste and subtlety, but also for not offering any pat answers or simple solutions to the harsh issues addressed in the narrative (indeed, this movie astutely captures the bitter messiness of untidy real life). Gyllenhaal holds the whole picture together with her astonishingly potent and heartbreaking characterization of a deeply flawed, yet still sympathetic protagonist. It's also a definite treat to see Danny Trejo display a rare gentle and sensitive side as basically decent and tender ex-junkie Dean Walker. This movie further benefits from sterling contributions from Brad William Henke as Sherry's caring and supportive brother Bobby, Sam Bottoms as Sherry's loathsome sexually abusive father Bob Sr., Giancarlo Esposito as hard-nosed parole officer Hernandez, and Bridget Barkan as Bobby's disapproving wife Lynette. Russell Lee Fine's no-frills cinematography provides an appropriately naturalistic look. Jack Livesey's spare and obtrusive score likewise does the trick. An absolute powerhouse.

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