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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2006!
THE AMAZING DR CLITTERHOUSE, 2006
After being released from prison, Sherry (Gyllenhaal) returns home to try and connect with her daughter while reestablishing her life and keeping off her addiction to drugs.
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One of her most riveting performances, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Laurie Collyer’s feature film debut gives a powerful and captivating study on the effects of addiction that not only victimizes the person, but those around them as well. The film is not condescending, patronizing or overly sentimental towards the subject. Collyer and Gyllenhaal give an honest take on people combating inner struggles with personal demons.
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the title character, an ex addict struggling to maintain her conviction while reclaiming her daughter. She’s fouled mouth, opinionated, promiscuous, and an opportunist when using her sexuality to get what she wants, if necessary. Gyllenhaal is magnetic.
She explores a character completely vulnerable, hiding behind her false confidence and hard exterior. When someone bumps into her on the street, she explodes. When threatened or challenged, she fights back both verbally and physically. Sherry is an extreme character that uses extreme measures during ordinary situations.
She’s adjusting to the world. The world she tried so hard to escape through heroin, and now music. But Sherry can’t escape because she needs to adapt to the world to get her daughter. But the question is, can she? Can she stay away from drugs? Those are the questions that translate in the film, and are the universal questions asked by many people fighting the same demons.
The daughter Alexis (Simpkins) is a natural. When you watch Gyllenhaal and Simpkins together, you believe they are mother and daughter. Their scenes are heartbreaking, and the love Sherry has for Alexis is palpable. Gyllenhaal makes you sympathize for Sherry, you are forced to care for her, root for, become frustrated, the ability to draw in the viewer is a testament to the talent of Gyllenhaal and the attention to detail from Collyer. You just believe it.
Sherry Baby avoids the happy ending, and wisely because to anything else would pander to the audience. The film at times fills more like a gritty documentary examining in great detail the struggle Sherry goes through a daily basis while trying to show that she in capable of taking care of her daughter. You can’t exactly enjoy the film, but you can take it in, experiencing every moment as if it was real, because most likely for someone watching, it is. For some, it may too real, or difficult to watch, however, the uncanny performances particularly from Gyllenhaal and the excellent directing from first time director Collyer,is reason alone to at least try.