With her debut feature Cherry, writer/director Sophie Galibert proves once again why she has received a considerable amount of film festival acclaim. With a clearly pronounced style from the very opening of this film, Galibert takes a very topical dilemma women all around the world face and channel it into a film that is fun, yet never shies away from the intensity and importance of the matter at hand. As Alex Trewhitt’s Cherry discovers she is pregnant, she only has 24 hours to make a crucial decision. And in a time where the U.S. government is taking that choice away from more and more women, Cherry is a contemplative film first and foremost. However, it’s filled with a freewheeling attitude thanks to its entertaining star.
From the moment Cherry begins, the viewer is treated to lush visuals and a vibrant energy that Los Angeles seems to solely exist for. Cherry, in all her roller-skating glory, soaks up the sun on her way to work, wherein she’s a magician at a costume shop. It’s a job that makes sense for the energy Trewhitt immediately exudes in the lead role, as bringing joy to others is clearly her style. Even in the wake of her pregnancy scare, she is able to improvise with a young child on the street as well as her boss with charismatic flourishes and a heartwarming playfulness. Unfortunately, she has been late one too many times and her boss decides it’s the final straw. On top of it all, her boyfriend has practically disappeared if his phone presence is any indication. All this is placed upon Cherry’s shoulders, and Trewhitt is able to balance that weight with her own bubbly attitude wonderfully.
Upon a visit to the doctor, which could also be seen as darkly comic thanks to the constant American notion of any medical visit being exuberantly costly, the film sets itself up with an almost literal ticking clock plot device. As everyone around Cherry is seemingly encountering massive successes or heartbreaking discoveries, her internal dilemma begins to push itself deeper and deeper. Upon wondering what type of mother she would be or if a baby will allow her to finally grow up, she comes to heated discussions with friends and loved ones. It's these moments where Cherry seemingly hears the most and grapples with what her limited options are. While she admits to dreams and plans sometimes changing, it’s clear Cherry didn’t anticipate this possible situation being the reason. In her eyes, it would always be of her own accord and on her own time. Yet, life doesn’t seem to ever work that way as the rest of the film highlights when having separate meals with her parents.
At a lean 76 minutes, Cherry is proof that Galibert has a lot of promise as a visual director who is able to tackle larger issues in a way that’s not only interesting, but entertaining given the subject matter. While the runtime could be extended a bit for some more impactful moments, what’s there works. Besides, a film like this may very well help those who need it, and with such a short length, it means more eyes can take it in. After all, the film is dedicated “To all the Cherry’s in the world”. As states around the country attempt to get rid of abortion rights, Cherry shows its audience how important it is to “give yourself a chance to do you”.
Cherry is celebrating its world premiere on June 11th at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival as part of the Tribeca Online Premieres category. For more information on the film and screening access, head right here!