Cherry Movie Review: Tom Holland’s Riveting Performance Through Dark Times

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While Tom Holland offers a stunning performance as Cherry, the Russo brothers bring us a film that wanes the audience’s attention to the point of missing the subtle quips sprinkled in to showcase the nuances of Cherry’s poor choices.

Cherry follows the semi-autobiographical story of Nico Walker through his time in the Army and his turbulent journey back into society. While in college, he meets the love of his life Emily, played by Ciara Bravo. Emily is dealing with her own troubled past, and when confronted by Cherry’s feelings for her, she panics and plans to leave for another school. In his grief, Cherry joins the Army, feeling he has nothing keeping him grounded. While the story follows Cherry on his journey, the story also highlights Emily and the struggles she faces along with him.

When Cherry goes into the military, he thinks of it as a farce, but once placed in an active warzone realizes the effect of his choices, especially as a medic. He sees the worst of war while serving his time while trying to hold onto his relationship with Emily. When he returns, he is broken from PTSD, something many soldiers experience when they return home. It’s a system that continues to fail the men and women that protect and serve our country. The film places the time when a soldier returns home under a microscope, not just for Cherry but his wife Emily as well. The idea that her role as a spouse is to try and fix him when he returns, something that she clearly feels responsible for in the first place.

The failed system of caring for our veterans’ mental and physical health leads us to another problem in the US, the opioid epidemic. Cherry’s addiction takes him and Emily on a terrible downward spiral into drug addiction that requires additional funding. This leads him to start robbing banks to pay for the drugs.

Holland’s ability to make you smile while robbing a bank gives me the sense that these are sparks of his personality shining through. Playing the role of Cherry is a departure from what we are used to seeing from our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but his performance definitely stands out. Holland and Bravo deliver a harrowing performance of struggling with addiction and dealing with life after the military. While their performances were heartbreaking and riveting to watch, the two-hour and 22-minute runtime cause the story to drone on during the low points. Joe and Anthony Russo bring in aspects of humor that audiences will enjoy against the raw storyline offering a small reprieve.

The audience can expect to feel emotionally drained after watching this film with the severe highs and lows that span Cherry’s life. Cherry is very triggering for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, served in the military, or had a drug addiction. There is no holding back, and it can be too much for some audiences to sit through.

“Cherry” follows the wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances. Inspired by the best-selling novel of the same name, “Cherry” features Tom Holland in the title role as an unhinged character who drifts from dropping out of college to serving in Iraq as an Army medic and is only anchored by his one true love, Emily (Ciara Bravo). When Cherry returns home a war hero, he battles the demons of undiagnosed PTSD and spirals into drug addiction, surrounding himself with a menagerie of depraved misfits. Draining his finances, Cherry turns to bank robbing to fund his addiction, shattering his relationship with Emily along the way. Brought to the screen in bold, gritty fashion by visionary directors Anthony and Joe Russo, “Cherry” is a darkly humorous, unflinching coming-of-age story of a man on a universal quest for purpose and human connection.

“Cherry” will is in select theaters on February 26, 2021, and globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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