Sherrybaby

Ok, here goes.

When I first saw Sherrybaby, I was still “trying to make it work” with Rooferman, even though I had moved out and was living with my mother. He adamantly refused to be within 10 miles of the angry feminist aura of her house, so LB and I saw very little of him until he finally put our engagement through the guillitene and moved in with Blondie.

Here is where I reveal something very embarrassing about myself:

I tried to get Rooferman to watch Sherrybaby, because when we couldn’t communicate, I would attempt to present the issue through a movie with a similar message. Yeah, I was delusional. But, being a Pisces I was convinced that the magic of movies could soften the pain we both were feeling, and get through the hard times.

When we had no propane to heat the house, we would huddle together under blankets and watch Cinderella Man, and for a little while, it would make everything ok. Rooferman would turn to me and say “I love you” and I my hope would be restored. If the Braddocks could make it through the Great Depression, then surely we could weather our storm.

Of course I was wrong.

Sherrybaby is about a person who wants to be a good mom, but doesn’t know how to do it. Its about someone with a dirty past, who is trying to reinvent herself. Most of all, its about how f***ing hard it is live a normal life, let alone re-insert  yourself into normal life, after you’ve been an addict, been in prison and left your child.

After Rooferman successfully removed himself from our lives, I though maybe him watching Sherrybaby would make him realize that no parent is perfect, and most of time we really don’t know what we are doing. I thought he would be able to relate to Sherry’s character and identify with her struggle to be a “functioning member of society.”

There are scenes in Sherrybaby that were eerily similar to how Rooferman would react to certain situations. Sherry would get so frustrated that she would punch cabinet doors, throw dishes in the sink, in order to fill the void of powerlessness. Most of her actions were functioning on a basic, instinctual, animalistic level. When a man bumps into her on the street, Sherry, fresh out of prison, turns around and follows him, saying “Excuse YOU! Hey Sir, You just bumped into me! Hey! Rude Motherf***er.”

I’ve seen Rooferman utilize the same intimidation techniques when someone is “disrespecting” him or when he feels threatened. He flares his nostrils, puffs out his chest, and stares people down. Sometimes we would walk down the street and all of a sudden he would be looking over his shoulder at someone, saying “yeah, just keep walking.” I wouldn’t even have noticed that someone passed us.

Sherry does terrible, awful things in the film and you want to scream obscenities at her, call her trash and a piece of s*** mother. There are terrible, awful things that happen to her as well, things that make you want to vomit, things that make you want to say, “well, hell if I that had happened to me, I probably would have reacted the same way.”

I really don’t want to deter anyone from watching Sherrybaby because I’m comparing some of her despicable behavior to Rooferman’s. Obviously my pathetic, passive-agressive movie-therapy philosophy didn’t work. I never got him to watch the movie. Even if I had, it probably wouldn’t have affected him the way I wanted it to. If anything, you should watch it because the acting is so powerful. I talked about Marissa Tomei’s performance in In the Bedroom as harrowing, but really, its nothing compared to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance in this film.

 I guarantee Sherrybaby will trigger an intense reaction in any mother. Whether you consider her actions unforgivable, or see some glimpse of hope in her future with her daughter, as a mom, there’s no way to deny her struggle to find a sense of humanity.

This is the scene that struck me the hardest:

Sherry

I just wanted to ask you…if you could help me take care of my daughter.

Sherry’s brother

Of course Sherry, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Sherry

I know, but I never asked you. So…would you please help me take care of my daughter? I can’t do it on my own.

Why was this scene was so powerful to me? Maybe it was watching someone have the courage to admit her inabilities and ask for help. Maybe it was the ability to put aside the pride Sherry displayed so adamantly through the movie and finally become humble. Maybe deep down, I was fantasizing Rooferman saying something similar to me; expressing gratitude for the care and effort I’ve dedicated to raising our daughter, and finally getting some sort of conformation on that. That was my emotional reaction. I’m curious to what yours would be.

If I haven’t completed turned you off yet, watch the trailer here. You can also hear an interview on NPR about the movie here.

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15 thoughts on “Sherrybaby

  1. I seriously need to watch more movies!

    I totally get that conversation though! More from a single moms point of view than of one in a r/ship!!

    Its hard asking for help and admiting you cant do it on your own!!

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  2. The scene towards the end of the movie where she is in the public restroom with her child and she confronts that other woman who was yelling at her own kid was the most powerful for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take a bat to the head of some of these mothers at Walmart, Target, grocery store, etc, that treat their kids like crap and expect passerby to ignore it.

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  3. Oh my gosh, I did the same thing with my ex! (And I’m a pisces, too. Huh.) Not this particular movie; not even with movies in general…but with music. In fact, my last attempt was to burn “What Goes Around” by Justin Timberlake onto a CD and give to him. That might not’ve been the best idea, but it spoke my heart. Still does. And I was using whatever means necessary to try to get in to him.

    I know for a fact, though, that he could be affected in such ways. We had a really awesome moment after we had watched Good Will Hunting together.

    As for Sherrybaby, it sounds like an incredible, powerful movie. It’s going on my Netflix.

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  4. Kristin- There are so many powerful scenes in this movie…another scene that took place (ironically) in a public restroom between a mother and daughter was in “Pieces of April” where a frustrated mother leaves her young daughter in the bathroom shouting “Fine, see how well you do on your own then!”

    Its really crazy how just watching these scenes triggers such a viceral reaction in moms.

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  5. I will definitely watch the movie. I too tried to communicate with DBD through music mostly but movies too – but he twisted and distorted the message to suit him every time. Amazing how he could do that so consistently. Gaining his understanding and compassion has proven impossible and to this day he believes he is somehow a victim by my giving birth to a child he didn’t want. I seriously doubt he will ever thank or appreciate me for having and raising our beautiful and wonderful daughter alone.

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  6. I need to see this movie, you’ve told me so much about it. I wish Rooferman would have watched it, sometimes people do finally get it after watching a movie, listening to a song, or through other forms of art. I guess maybe I’m too big of an optimist, but you never know. Honestly though, you rock at being a mom and even if he won’t tell you, I think if he were honest with himself he would see it too and admit that (that and if evil Blondie weren’t whispering in his ear all the time).

    Anyways, love ya lots and see ya soon!

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  7. I found this movie tremendous and like you being a good pisces and all I use movies to express my own emotions too.

    I think this is a great movie, and I love the scene you describe.
    Thanks for the reminder, I probably should watch it again sometime.

    G~*

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  8. Okay, next time I want to watch a movie and don’t know what, I’m going to have to check your blog. I’m usually wandering around the movie store with no clue what to rent.

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  9. It looks like I’ll have to make a list of all the movies I need to watch!

    I really like when movies and books frustrate me, so I’ll probably “enjoy” the emotions this movie might bring out in me.

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  10. I love your movie reviews. I’ve got a free one month trial for Netflix that I plan to activate during my one month break between semesters (how convenient!). I’m definitely going to stock up on a lot of these that you’ve reviewed.

    I also love your blog. And the way that small tidbits of your life and personality seem to mirror small tidbits of my own.

    I relate to your blog on an almost eerie level.

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  11. loved this movie, I was a single mom when my boy was little. I also worked with foster children. It was a pretty telling portrayal of someone consumed by her demons and unable to parent. Not unable to love, just unable to parent.

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  12. Great review of a very moving movie. I think it’s one everyone should watch, but not nearly enough people will “get”. Life is cruel, unfair, and rarely perfect.

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