(Written by Allison Brown)
In the mood for a bubblegum and neon-tinted nostalgic movie with a narrative along the lines of Never Rarely Sometimes Always? Cherry will be your jam! Bursting with 90s energy, writer/director Sophie Galibert manages to include so much of the aesthetic of my childhood, while telling a very modern abortion tale set in LA. Get ready for classic roller rinks (complete with tacky carpeting), holographic backpacks, glitter eyeshadow, spaghetti straps and denim shorts! More relevant than ever given the recent Supreme Court draft opinion that would potentially overrule Roe v. Wade, Galibert provides another strong entry into the abortion sub-genre. Unlike others of its kind, Cherry focuses on the lead’s journey and life choices that put her in this position, rather than the endeavor to get the abortion itself. The procedure is just accepted as a normal option, which is exactly how it should be. Aside from a problematic misusage of the phrase, “my body, my choice,” the film shows how essential it is for a woman to have the right to choose. This choice is not just for a mother, but also to prevent a child from being inadequately raised by parents who are still mentally children themselves. Effortlessly girly, Cherry is just the type of film to which any woman in their early twenties can relate.
Living as if she were an overgrown pre-teen with a pink heart drawn on her cheek, Cherry (Alex Trewhitt) has nearly nothing in her life under control. In the Polka dots bathroom, she hastily takes a pregnancy test while her boss, Roger (Joe Sachem), pounds at the door. To her dismay, this extremely immature 25-year-old is going to be a mother. One after another, the hardships in Cherry’s life begin to pile up. She endeavors to reach out to her live-in boyfriend, Nick (Dan Schultz), to break the news, and he is nowhere to be found. One more fuckup at her costume store job as a balloon artist, and she is out the door. Unfortunately, an attempted balloon sword presented to a young child, which happens to look more like a “weiner,” is the last straw; Cherry is now unemployed. Wandering aimlessly on roller skates through the array of randomness in her life, Cherry is lost and consistently frazzled.
Drifting to a medical office just as they are about to close, Cherry manipulates her way into an examination that ultimately confirms her pregnancy. To no one’s surprise, Cherry’s tried-and-true birth control method of choice, pulling out, was not effective. Not only is she pregnant, but she is about to enter her eleventh week! Cherry is given three options: carry to term, abortion by pill, and abortion surgery. The pill, which costs a whopping $500, can only be legally taken up until week 11, while the surgical procedure, which is much more costly and invasive, can be performed until week 24. It is Saturday, and Cherry only has until Monday to make her final choice before it may be too late.
In this precious window, Cherry visits her father (Charlie S. Jensen), mother (Angela Nicholas), sister (Hannah Alline), grandmother (Melinda DeKay), friend Mia, and Nick, all to subtlety press their opinion without truly revealing the nature of her distress. The only person she even shares her pregnancy with is partner Nick, and anyone can guess how that might have gone. Each scene works to define Cherry as a woman, and allows for a depth of character growth.
Alex Trewhitt was made to play Cherry; her performance is believable and nuanced with realism. Cherry’s grandma is a standout; she isn’t mentally sound, and provides a hefty dose of comic relief. In the duration of one Mother’s Day brunch, she rocks a pair of fancy pink gradient shades, assumes someone has died, discusses an affair with a woman, hints to sex with her grandfather, and decides it is New Year’s Eve while everyone is locked in an argument and stumbles upon random confetti to explode everywhere. In this one scene, she makes such a large impact. Melinda DeKay is the embodiment of the notable quote, “there are no small parts, only small actors.”
Cherry leaves audiences with the lesson that one doesn’t have to have their life path all figured out and that’s okay. For now, just keep doing one’s best, live in the moment, and it will eventually all work out.
Cherry weighs the factors to a big decision when it premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13th.