Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his writings will help launch his careers.
Just when I thought Tom Holland had surprised me with his performance in The Devil All the Time, he goes and makes Cherry, a true stand-out performance that shows his incredible talent and range. The true tragedy is seeing how unappreciative people are being on social media. This film is speaking volumes and it seems very few are listening, and that's a tragedy.
The film follows Cherry, a young man who can't seem to find his bearings. He's a college dropout who has joined the army. Two years of enduring horrors has brought a PTSD-riddled shell of a man back to Emily, the love of his life. His life spirals, dragging her into the pit with him.
I am gushing with so much praise for this film, so I think for once I will start with the couple of things that I had an issue with so that way I can spend more time on the positives. Really these two issues go hand-in-hand. The film is supposed to be from Cherry's perspective, hence why he's narrating, but the cutaway moments where he talks directly into the camera were unnecessary and made a serious scene seem comedic when it wasn't at all. It would have been better if the Russos had kept the narration structure all the way through the film rather than switching back and forth between narration and the cutaway moments. The second issue I had was once again utilizing comedy in non-comedic ways. Banks weren't seriously named, official documents weren't official at all...there seemed to be very little effort put into some scenes. For instance, there's a bank called "Shitty Bank" and a bank document that clearly says "Blah blah blah" on it. I think those moments were supposed to emphasize how little awareness Cherry had on his surroundings, especially while on drugs, but it came off like the directors just didn't care. I doubt that's the case considering the Russo Brothers are fantastic directors, but I felt these moments didn't have the intended effect.
Now, let's talk positives. Tom Holland gives the performance of his career in this film. Cherry's character progression sees him go from a slacker kid to an Army brat to a vet with PTSD to a druggie. Tom had to encompass an entire filmography's worth of characterization and put it all into one character and one film. I was absolutely astounded by how natural this hard work seemed to come to him. He was simply born to be incredible. Ciara Bravo was also incredible, especially in the last half of the film in which her character Emily is struggling to help Cherry with his PTSD and in turn her slowly getting addicted to drugs because Cherry's getting addicted to drugs. The horrid reality is outstandingly performed and Ciara accomplishes here what many up-and-coming young actresses cannot and that's believability. While I felt bad for Cherry, I felt even more for Emily because she literally has no idea what to do and just follows his lead. She's an innocent kid, really, and lets her love for Cherry determine her choices, which leads me to my next point. Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg wrote the screenplay, perfectly capturing in their writing the disturbing and harsh reality that so many vets face. They can't shake PTSD and the horrors they face in war so they try to get help via medication. So many of them end up addicted to their meds because they overdose in order to stop the pain, or at least numb it, then that progresses to harder drugs...it's tragic and sad and the writers did an incredible job capturing this progression.
In conclusion, while the film had its faults, I still came away thoroughly impressed by the film and by the leads Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo in particular. Fantastic writing, fantastic performances. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
© 2021 Nathan Jasper
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 13, 2021:
Interesting. Nice review.