Staunch Test PASS.
Cherry takes place over a time span of 18 years, from 2003 to 2021, and focuses on Cherry (Tom Holland) and Emily (Ciaro Bravo). College sweethearts, who initially break up, leading to Cherry enlisting as an Army Medic. It is based on Nico Walkers autobiographical novel and his own personal experiences with combat, opiate addiction and crime, and is directed by the Russo siblings,
We see Cherry and Emily reuniting and marrying, just before he joins basic training.
Following Cherry’s life post Iraq, he’s suffering with PTSD which leads to his initial Oxycontin dependency, and then heroin addiction, ending in robbing banks to pay off drug debts and accumulate more drugs. This is a harrowing and torturous journey for the viewer. Emily eventually anguishes over Cherry’s PTSD issues, his reliance on Xanax and then Oxy in the early days, but then succumbs to his pressures, taking them on as her own, stating she wants to feel like him to escape it all.
As the couple spiral towards a rapidly escalating heroin addiction and Cherry launches his bank robbing career, I as the viewer, felt sympathy, compassion and disgust simultaneously throughout various scenes of the film. It certainly does not shy away from the grit, grime and brutality of a full-time drug dependency.
This film undoubtedly condemns the treatment of army veterans returning home, and the doctors pushing Oxycontin onto their patients, in a non-subtle way. Using straight to camera narration to slow motion and visual quirky and witty dialogues in the backgrounds, actually makes it cinematically an interesting watch.
Walker’s novel differs slightly from the film in that on his return from Iraq he got hooked on opiates and went on to rob banks, receiving 11 years in prison. He wrote Cherry while incarcerated and he used some of the profits to pay back the banks he robbed. He was released from prison in 2019 just in time to see his novel adapted to film.
Your opinion of this film will depend on which side of the fence you sit. If you think that all drug addicts and criminals are scourges of society and are the making of their own problems then this film is not for you. However, if you have sympathy for mental health issues stemming from an environment beyond someone’s control, with the lead character demonstrating a brutal level of self-awareness, then this film could be a harsh but worthwhile education.
Cherry is a #StaunchTestPass.