You may be familiar with that feeling of anxiety right before you have to tell someone something really important. Well, Cherry (2022) is a movie that captures that feeling for the majority of its runtime. Writer and director Sophie Galibert, who co-wrote Cherry with Arthur Cohen, has crafted a character whose anxiety about everything pours out of the screen and onto its audience. It is possible that I saw my own indecisiveness in the film’s protagonist, and it made me squirm in my seat.
Cherry (Alexandria Trewhitt), a listless 25-year-old, has found out that she’s ten weeks pregnant, and has 24 hours to decide what to do about it. As if that revelation wasn’t scary enough, Cherry finds herself jobless and wandering around LA looking for guidance from friends, her boyfriend, and her family. Confronted with the reality of adulthood, Cherry struggles to tell anyone the full extent of her existential crisis.
Trewhitt is good in the role of Cherry, but I found a lot of the moments in the film so unbelievably frustrating. While I definitely can relate to not wanting to tell people the truth, I did find myself wishing that she would just rip the Band-Aid off. There is a particularly frustrating sequence at a mother’s day lunch that made Cherry feel almost alien to her whole family. I found it a little hard to fully grasp Cherry’s circumstances at that point in her life. The level of immaturity made sense, but her cluelessness about certain aspects of her own world felt a bit too exaggerated at times.
The relevance of Cherry’s situation definitely adds to the story. Galibert and Cohen don’t really get into the politics of abortion like Plan B (2021), Unpregnant (2021), or Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) managed to do, as they focus more on Cherry’s transformation as a result of her circumstance. Still, at a time when politicians across the country are making decisions for women who find themselves pregnant, the film feels especially relevant. Ebert once stated that movies are empathy machines, and that any time an audience can feel the weight of such a circumstance, it can help us come to an understanding. The “what if it were me” situation the audience can ponder while watching Cherry struggle with talking to her friends and family while grappling with her impending decision, can be a powerful tool for someone trying to figure out where they stand on the topic.
While I didn’t exactly enjoy watching Cherry, I did find it to be competently made and well-performed. I think there are better examples of the story and the circumstances mentioned, but this film still brings up an important conversation. At the heart of its coming-of-age story, there is a lot of empathy to have with regard to the uncertainty people are feeling all across the country. What can we even do anymore? Cherry earns the Decent Watch rating.