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:
I just wanted to ask you…if you could help me take care of my daughter.
Of course Sherry, that’s what I’ve been doing.
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.