“Presents a delicate topic with a sympathetic perspective, but feels amateurish at times”
Sophie Galibert’s Cherry portrays a woman’s struggles through an unplanned pregnancy. With the uncertainty of the Roe vs. Wade ruling being overturned in the Supreme Court, movies that discuss abortion are more important than ever. There are many factors that contribute to women’s right to abortion not being supported; whether it is the government, family or friends, this choice of making a life-changing decision can be scary. These kinds of movies are usually reserved for teenagers who want to get an abortion, but Galibert’s directorial debut shows a fresh take on how to embrace new decisions in adulthood in the midst of an aimless and uncommitted life.
The film first follows the titular character, Cherry (Alex Trewhitt) roller skating through the streets of Los Angeles on her way to her menial job at the costume shop. She doesn’t seem too worried about the adult world, as she drifts from one relationship to a crappy new job. Her entire world comes crashing down when she discovers that she is pregnant. After visiting the doctor, Cherry learns that she needs to make a difficult and possibly life-changing decision — whether to terminate the pregnancy or proceed with motherhood. Desperate to get some advice from the people in her life, she reaches out to them, but they seem too preoccupied by other things going on in their lives. Soon, Cherry learns that perhaps her support system might not have been strong enough, and before she finally faces adulthood, there are a few things that she needs to confront about herself.
What is interesting about Cherry’s uncommitted life is that there are so many people in her life who want her to be successful. Her family, friends, and even her partner have expectations set for their lives. No one has their life figured out in their mid-20s, but Cherry’s life is a mess. She has opportunities right in front of her, but the only thing that stops her from achieving things is herself. Every problem and obstacle that she faces is human and grounded in reality, and that’s what makes Cherry such a realistic depiction of someone whose life hasn’t been figured out. Cherry learns to grow out of her flaws and in the end, Galibert introduces a more responsible and committed version of herself than the person she was at the beginning of the film.
Cherry expresses a lot of ideas which are powerful enough to show great emotional moments in the movie. Galibert never takes the focus away from the central character’s situation and never treats it as a joke. It’s obvious that the director deeply cares about the topic and even goes forward to include an educational aspect within the narrative. While most films help raise awareness of unplanned pregnancy, especially a teenager’s unplanned pregnancy, this film makes an interesting decision in showing Cherry, a young girl in her mid-20s, who doesn’t use proper contraception. In a scene where the doctor asks which method of contraceptive was used, she replies ‘pull out’. The doctor explains using an actual contraception method, which would prevent unplanned pregnancies such as Cherry’s, as well as vital information about the abortion laws in California, which prevent women from aborting their pregnancies after 12 weeks. The doctor doesn’t try to shame Cherry for her decision, and assures her politely that she still has enough time to make a very adult decision.
Cherry presents a delicate topic with a sympathetic perspective, but feels amateurish at times. Galibert is given the task of writing a very difficult and powerful narrative; however, some elements don’t balance things out. One of the many aspects that makes a great movie is the actor’s ability to present a strong performance, and Trewhitt does not imbue it enough due to her lack of experience. While Trewhitt is able to convey the ideas on screen and shines in her role, her performance is a mixed bag. Powerful and comical moments in the movie get lost in the actor’s showcase, which might not tug at the heartstrings of some viewers. Cherry is a standout in terms of its delicate storytelling as well as the knowledge contained in its narrative, as Galibert delivers a charming and sympathetic coming-of-age tale.