Cherry is a phenomenal coming-of-age comedy film about responsibility and making important life choices, all while facing adulthood through an unplanned pregnancy.
In the past five to ten years we have seen a much needed rise in films tackling the issues of pregnancies, abortions, and women’s health as a whole, with recent projects such as Unpregnant and Never Rarely Sometimes Always. With the uncertainty many women go through during this time, not feeling supported by their families, friends, and even their government, movies can work as a form of escapism that may or may not provide that sense of being seen and understood after having to decide on a life-changing choice. Keep it, or abort. Sophie Galibert’s directorial debut Cherry seems to be a promising, fresh take on a well-known story that seeks to unpack what it is to finally embrace adulthood.
After an unplanned pregnancy, a 25-year-old woman named Cherry (Alex Trewhitt, The Pom Pom Murders) in Los Angeles finds she only has roughly 24 hours to make one of the most important decisions of her life. Fired from working at a costume shop, she wanders around town, looking for advice from her boyfriend, friends, and family on what to do with this new dilemma she has to resolve. As she does this, she is confronted with having to learn how to be responsible for her own decisions.
I know it’s still very early on within the Tribeca Film Festival, but I have been patiently waiting for a movie to blow me away and suck me right into its narrative and characters. No film has fully done that yet, either falling short of doing so or not even getting close. That is until now. I am happy to report Cherry has been the first movie from the festival to check all of my boxes thus far. It’s charming, relatable, funny, and it loudly expresses its style and ideas, yet it’s also quiet and willing to dial it down when it needs to give those emotional beats the time to shine. Sophie Galibert is an eccentric filmmaker to keep an eye on after Cherry. Her and co-writer Arthur Cohen’s writing for our titular character is both believable and honest. There’s not a single scene where Cherry and her current situation is treated as a joke or made fun of; if anything, she’s on the joke when awkward scenarios present themselves. It’s a topic you can tell the filmmakers deeply cared about and had more to say than simply acknowledge the issue at hand.
Alex Trewhitt is a damn revelation as Cherry. This is a career-making kind of performance that I hope launches her into bigger starring roles in the near future. Trewhitt brings such genuine warmth to the screen that I don’t think could have been replicated by any other actress playing the character. There are several reasons why the film works as well as it does, but Trewhitt is a pivotal one. The amount of relatability she radiates is insane. It is not just the fact that she needs to portray a woman who discovers an unexpected pregnancy, it’s that she’s in that point of adulthood where she’s confronted with the question: what do you want to do with the rest of your life? She needs to face rejection from her boyfriend Nick (Dan Schultz, Captivity), decide her career path, and come to terms with her own conception through her parents. Trewhitt conveys these ideas beautifully through her subtle yet loud take on Cherry.
Most films discussing abortion focus on teenagers, which isn’t a bad thing and actually helps bring awareness, but by changing it up to a 25-year-old it places somebody like Cherry in a very interesting position. By default, you’d think someone at that age would have their life figured out. Truth is, people in their 20s struggle just as much as those still in high school. Expectations are just as high: all eyes are on you to be successful, when in reality we’re hiding our very own anxieties and personal dilemmas. Cherry is at this exact point in her life. She’s still working at low value costume shop, from which she gets fired from very early on, she’s living with Nick and his roomates, who do nothing but smoke pot all day; she’s offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on tour with her roller skating, dancing team, and, on top of that, she is pregnant. She’s a complete mess, but it makes for such a compelling character to follow. The film never tries to trick you into caring for our protagonist just because she’s pregnant, but because her struggles prior to the big event are human and grounded in reality.
Once the film reaches its conclusion, we are left with a happier, more responsible and determined Cherry who is hopeful for a brighter future ahead of her after making the decision that best would fit her current needs. Is the film predictable since it follows a very particular formula? Yeah, it is. Does it really matter when it plays with the themes and cliches in such a smart way? I don’t believe so. Maybe I am too much of a sucker for coming-of-age comedies, but Cherry is such a standout because of its execution. Again, Sophie Galibert delivers a sympathetic yet charming look into what it is to be one of these women who have to go through the abortion processs here in America. If by the time we get to a scene between Cherry and her father, played by Charlie J. Jensen (Super Inspired), in a parking lot and you’re not emotionally connected to these characters, then you may as well have no heart in my eyes. Because no matter how simple and predictable this story might be to you, I can’t imagine not getting wrapped up in its quirky characters, striking visuals, and memorable soundtrack that gives Cherry an identity of its own.
Cherry premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival “at home” on June 11, 2022. Read our interview with Sophie Galibert and Alex Threwitt.