Cherry film review (2021)

Although an incredible performance from Tom Holland, The Russo Brothers’ latest effort is overwhelmingly disjointed, has horrible pacing, and it feels more like a series of stories instead of a focused one, which never grab at you and make you feel invested.

I was pretty high on this one prior to its release. After seeing The Russo Brothers’ recent track record (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame), who wouldn’t be? I was mostly excited since this was a completely different project; something a bit smaller compared to the blockbuster hits they’ve been giving us for almost seven years. Plus, I feel Tom Holland is only getting better with each performance. Maybe the films he’s been doing aren’t the greatest out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that’s more a case of what he’s been given to work with, not his talent. Unfortunately for him, that seems to be the case with his and the director’s latest movie, Cherry.

Truly, I really wanted to like this film. From the trailers, it seemed I would. The story is one I could get behind since it’s based on a real events. Holland leading the charge is also another reason. However, from the beginning, something just seemed off. I wasn’t a fan of the editing. I guess the directors wanted to try something unique and different, but it’s a decision that sort of threw me off and left me a bit uninterested. I definitely wasn’t a fan of the color palette that was on display at times. That isn’t the biggest issue, though. As the film starts and progresses, you get an idea of what it’s about, but I feel it never really takes full advantage of the different plot details it’s establishing, nor does it flesh out certain characters and/or narrative beats.

For example, there’s a specific plot detail in the movie that gets introduced and you’re somewhat intrigued by it as it’s being developed and told. Then, the film switches to a completely different plotline and sort of abandons the previous one. Nothing ever feels fulfilled or resolved which is sort of disappointing since, in most stories, you want these developments to be seen through till the very end. Unfortunately, this film opts for something different. It feels as if it’s throwing in a variety of different episodes of a series that don’t directly follow one after another and it was edited into one big episode. It’s really up to the viewer to interpret how you see things, what you think happens, and why certain decisions are made.

I mean, there are some specific storylines you get some closure too, but they don’t feel as important to the overall plot, which is another challenge figuring out what that is already. In reality, you watch this film for the two leading protagonists: Holland as Cherry and Ciara Bravo as Emily. The two have quite the chemistry together and the things they experience throughout the film hit a ton of themes and emotions. You see romance, love, and care, but in many other scenes, you see depression, obsession, addiction, and at times, desperation. The way they were both able to portray all of these things is impressive, if you ask me. Sadly, I feel these performances are stuck in the wrong film since it doesn’t really benefit the story in any way. It’s another case of great acting mixed with poor writing and direction.

Throughout the movie, there are different aspects of Cherry’s life on screen. You see him as a young teenager who’s falling in love with Emily, you then see him as someone trying to hold a steady job, you then see him join the military, and then he’s a severe drug addict who robs banks to feed his addiction. It’s one thing after another leading to his ultimate demise. It sounds like it’s a steady and organized development of a character, but it never feels as if the movie is doing him any favors while telling his story. It’s a bunch of random plot points being thrown together in an effort to try and tell his story. It may work for some people, but it never really captured my full and undivided attention, unfortunately.

It hurts to say this about The Russo Brothers since I’ll forever be grateful for what they delivered to the MCU. I’m also sure there will be other films they’ll be directing in the future that I’ll definitely be excited to watch. I honestly can’t wait for their next project, The Gray Man, so let’s see how that one turns out. But, Cherry is mostly forgettable, boring, and wastes the great performances turned in from the leading two.

Score: D

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