Apple TV has been hit or miss in the past when it comes to original content, but Cherry does not disappoint. Tom Holland is unrecognizable as a war veteran turned addict in this drama filled film. Cherry is one rollercoaster after the next as the film navigates through Holland’s character.
Cherry was adapted from a book of the same name that is semi-autobiographical and based on the life of veteran Nico Walker. The film follows the life of an unnamed college student, dubbed “Cherry,” who enlists in the army and the effects that war has on his life following his discharge. In the beginning of the film, we meet a young Cherry in college where he meets the love of his life Emily. He and Emily enter a whirlwind period in which they are head over heels for each other, but Emily breaks up with Cherry because she is afraid of commitment.
In the cloud of his breakup, Cherry enlists in the army as a medic to find his purpose. Before his deployment, the two reunite and get married. During his military tour, Cherry sees the horrors that war offers. After his discharge, he begins to suffer from PTSD and results in becoming a drug addict to cope. Cherry then unintentionally gets his girlfriend into the drug addiction as well and begins robbing banks to pay for his costly habit.
The structure of the film allows the audience to clearly see how Cherry’s life spirals. The film is separated into six parts and depending on which part of his life, the viewing dimensions change. Cherry starts with the prologue which focuses on his college life and moves through other parts which are basic training, Cherry, home, dope life and finishes with the epilogue. The viewing dimension changes to a small square when Cherry is in basic training because he feels small and insignificant there. The rest of the film is seen in a wide-angle perspective to show the audience just how much the actions in those parts affected the outcome of Cherry’s life.
Part of the success of the film can be attributed to the sarcasm and satire that Cherry delivers to the audience. All throughout the movie, Cherry is constantly breaking the fourth wall to tell the viewers how he really feels during the scenes. This adds comedic relief to the heavier content in Cherry. It allows the audience to skim over the bad things happening to Cherry throughout his life.
What I find interesting about the film is that the audience never learns Cherry’s real name and we never see anyone address him as Cherry. Cherry goes through the film nameless because he doesn’t feel his life is meaningful enough to have a title. We also only see the true names of characters that Cherry has a real connection with, such as his wife Emily and his fellow soldier Jimenez, who he sees die in combat. Along with this, we see Cherry give nicknames to those that have a negative impact on his life such as Dr. Whomever, who gives him his first OxyContin prescription, and Pills and Coke who becomes his dealer. This helps the audience to differentiate the good and the bad people in Cherry’s life.
Overall Cherry delivers a new perspective to the life of a soldier after war. One could say that this movie is a commentary on how little America does for its soldiers once they come home. The movie conveys the tragedies that can befall those with undiagnosed mental illness. After watching Cherry in its entirety, there is certain not to be a dry eye in the room.
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