While Cherry is too damn long, Tom Holland, and especially Ciara Bravo, present the most beautiful, f***ed up love story you might watch for a while.
|Director(s)||Anthony Russo, Joe Russo|
|Screenplay By||Angela Russo-Otstot, Jessica Goldberg|
|Date Released (Apple TV+)||3/12/2021|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, War|
|Duration||2 Hours and 20 Minutes|
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Covering 19 years, Cherry focuses on the relationship of “Cherry” and his girlfriend, eventual wife, Emily. Throughout those 19 years, they deal with Emily’s abandonment issues, Cherry going to war, PTSD, drug addiction, and so much more. Leaving you to wonder, as these two hit rock bottom and take a jackhammer to the concrete, will this story end tragically or with them both getting their s*** together?
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Reason(s) for Film Rating: Vomiting, blood, grotesque images of dead bodies, gun violence, sexual situations, and drug use that includes injection of drugs. Oh, and cursing.
- Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: The ending will make you cry, as well as moments when it is clear to Cherry that he is dragging Emily down.
Bravo and Holland As A Couple (89)
One thing we’ve learned about Tom Holland as an actor is that he loves a scene partner that will share the scene with him and be in the moment. If you’re someone who needs to stand on your own as an individual, he’ll work with you, but you don’t get the full benefit of him being your co-star. So with Ciara Bravo down to play and enjoying Holland as a love interest, it makes the early years of Cherry and Emily butterfly inducing.
Mind you, they both got issues, ranging from Emily’s fear of love to Cherry’s feelings of inadequacy at times – especially as a man (Like in Chaos Walking). Yet, despite the grievances caused, you become so invested that even when both become dope fiends, clearly dependent on each other in a way that could turn deadly, you want them to find a way to have happily ever after. Preferably by going to rehab and maybe looking into Cherry getting some regular therapy and pills that are more so therapeutic than addictive, but I digress.
The point is, no matter how bad it gets, there is something about them always looking for that other person to still be there. Sometimes, yes, as a crutch, maybe an enabler, but other times as the person they know will give them room to heal and grow to one day become a better person. All the while still having that person willing to hold their hand, or just plain ole show-up, despite past situations.
Ciara Bravo On Her Own (84)
While this is Tom Holland’s movie, which he was handpicked for by the Russo brothers, Bravo is the one who most benefits from Cherry. Granted, like many actors, especially in the new generation, you can’t necessarily lose yourself in Bravo’s performance and only see Emily. However, despite Emily primarily being Cherry’s wife, who goes through so much with him, she isn’t an accessory.
When it comes to Emily, you see a story of her own, it is just not focused on, and Bravo, like Holland, has that something, which we usually write off as charm, which holds onto you and makes you curious. Be it such things like, what’s Emily’s relationship with her mom like? What made her stick with Cherry through it all, and with each question, you don’t get frustrated because you’re entranced.
This is what I mean by not getting lost in Emily because it’s like a friend reenacting a moment with certain side stories missing. The kind that would flesh out certain decisions or moments that aren’t fully clear, but because you don’t want the story to stop or for them to be thrown off, you just enjoy yourself.
Comical Names For Things When They Seem Unimportant (80)
Whether it is the name of people or spoofs of companies’ names, like Bank of America, it’s clear to break up the drama the film tries to be funny. The jokes don’t always hit strong and certainly aren’t the level of relief Cherry the film, or Cherry the person sometimes needs, but the effort is appreciated.
It Didn’t Need To Be So Long (65)
Though we adore Holland and Bravo, they can’t carry a movie this long. Add in few, if any, notable supporting actors, and it makes you feel like, since the movie is split into parts, it should have been released in parts. If not, as seen towards the end, when we get a montage covering nearly 14 years, a lot of parts in the movie, like Cherry’s time in the army, could have, and should have, been a montage.
After all, we all know, after so many World War, Vietnam, and Iraq war movies, PTSD is real, the VA is overwhelmed, and thus not helpful for all, and veterans are suffering. Especially with trying to readjust to civilian life after the army broke them down in basic training, built them up to be soldiers, and then they were asked to kill or experience death in ways most human minds can’t withstand.
This feels like common knowledge that anyone old enough to see an R-rated movie should be aware of. So as much as you get establishing Cherry in the military sets up his downfall, him going through training and so much more, it could have been cut or montaged.
On The Fence
Cherry Breaking The Fourth Wall (75)
Besides characters being given comical names or the banks Cherry robs getting comical titles, there is also Cherry breaking the fourth wall. In terms of information purposes, sometimes the info is appreciated. However, I wouldn’t say it was necessary for you to feel connected with Cherry. As an actor, Holland has that special something already, so breaking the fourth wall seems almost like overkill, and sometimes it takes you out of the scene, with being addressed, than brings you in closer. Making it, like the comical moments of the film, hit or miss.
You Can’t See Tom Holland Be Anything But Tom Holland (76)
To address the hype some gave Holland’s performance, honestly, as noted earlier, Tom Holland, perhaps like many, if not most actors, is not a character actor. Rather, it’s Tom Holland by a different name, experiencing a different life, but you still see Tom Holland at that character’s core. Even when Cherry is a junkie desperate for his next fix, it’s Tom Holland. When you are looking at a soldier being traumatized, that is Tom Holland in a US military uniform. There is no losing Tom Holland.
Yet, what we’ve learned to appreciate, especially after seeing Will Smith in After/ Earth, is when actors aren’t asked to dim what made them famous but instead pushed to bring that to the character. For at the end of the day, if Holland and Bravo weren’t attached, but a few no-name actors, would anyone care about Cherry? Would Apple have bought the rights to it? Probably not. So, while actors do need to be challenged and stretch the imagination of viewers and the industry, you can’t forget what the people are paying for.
Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
Cherry is a lot to digest in one sitting. If you count the prologue and epilogue, it is broken down into seven parts, and each one may not feel like a whole episode, but you could easily see some combined and the film made into a mini-series. This would have helped immensely for all the charm Bravo and Holland muster, and performances that definitely expand what you think they are capable of – don’t make either capable of not having you check the time at the 1-hour mark then every ten to fifteen minutes.
Hence the mixed label. Throughout Cherry, you’ll feel, as much as you love the humor and performances, that this movie didn’t need to be so long. And while you get the time length could have been simply to honor the book this is based on, sometimes being a faithful adaptation is more about capturing the heart than as many scenarios in the book as possible.
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