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critics consensus

It's certainly stylish and it offers Tom Holland a welcome opportunity to branch out, but Cherry's woes stem from a story that's too formulaic to bowl anyone over. Read critic reviews

audience says

You'll need to settle in for a long ride, but the Russos' unique visual style and great acting from Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo make Cherry a hard-hitting story about PTSD and addiction. Read audience reviews

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Movie Info

"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.

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Critic Reviews for Cherry

All Critics (198) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (126)

  • I'm impressed by it and fascinated by it...I say you should watch it, for seeing what these creatives are giving us, they're doing something different...

    March 30, 2021 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • What an absolute mess of superficially explored themes about addiction and America.

    March 21, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Not even the emotional depth or compassion Tom Holland imbues his unnamed character can save Cherry. Only a ruthless editor that would've been willing to cut 60 minutes out of it could have.

    March 19, 2021 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Holland flings himself into the role, and sweats desperation every second. But the Russos undermine him at every turn...

    March 18, 2021 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Not perfect by any means, with many things wrong with it, but Tom Holland's performance pulls you through it, with the genre changing in each different section of his life.

    March 16, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Rather than generating excitement, the insistence on momentum at all costs makes the film resemble an endless series of TV commercials strung together.

    March 15, 2021 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cherry

  • Mar 30, 2021
    Joe and Anthony Russo (also known as "The Russo Brothers" on most of their projects together) have obviously made a name for themselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directing four of their biggest films to date. Not only have they made a name for themselves in terms of audience appreciation and box office return, but also in the fact that every film they've worked on as directors has been praised, aside from maybe You, Me, and Dupree. I have been a big fan of their work since the series Community and have followed most of their producing work with films like 21 Bridges and Extraction. They've always been a duo to me that works really well together. For all of these reasons and more, I was looking forward to their first outing as directors outside of Marvel. Cherry is now streaming on Apple TV+ and here are my thoughts.  After dropping out of school and falling in love with Emily (Ciara Bravo), a character by the name of Cherry (Tom Holland) chooses to join the army as a medic. After experiencing horrors in war, he is discharged. Suffering from extreme PTSD and trying to keep his life together with Emily, he turns to drugs. Eventually leading to bank robbings and dangerous situations, this film is really just the downward spiral of a person's life and whether or not they will make it out alive. The second half of this film had me feeling extremely uncomfortable, which is, I'm sure, was the exact intention. For that, I give the film major props, but it's also too unfocused as an overall movie most of the time. The first act of Cherry sets the stage in terms of the style, which didn't work for me right off the bat. Honestly, I'm all for narration and slow motion, but it felt like nearly every other shot was either in slow motion or was being overly explained by Tom Holland. This became a distraction for me. Yes, both of these do lessen as the film progresses and focuses more on the dramatic aspects of his life, but I didn't find myself as attached to this character as I wanted to be. I felt like I was being told everything instead of experiencing it. As I was watching Cherry, it became apparent that the directors seemed to think it was a very clever and stylistic choice to have a lot of slow-motion to accentuate certain moments, and although it worked sometimes, it began to feel redundant.  The absolute biggest strength of this film, at least in my opinion, was Tom Holland. Ever since his appearance as a much younger actor in the film The Impossible, I knew he had talent that wasn't going away. Whether or not he chooses the best projects, he always gives scene-stealing performances in them. That description of him is absolutely in the forefront here as well. From his nearly innocent performance in the first act to finding and ruining his life in the second, I genuinely felt like I was watching someone spiral out of control. Holland sold the movie in many more ways than one in that regard. Overall, the impact of the story is very much there, but there were too many creative choices that didn't work for me here. Both Holland and Bravo's performances deserved a better screenplay, but they worked with what they were given. Joe and Anthony Russo are terrific filmmakers, but this one felt like they stepped out of their comfort zone in some strange ways. I never fully connected with the film, but I enjoyed the story. I can't quite recommend this film because this subject matter is dealt with in much better films and other than some good performances and a solid story, Cherry just didn't feel revised enough.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2021
    Style Over Substance Abuse - Film Review: Cherry ★★1/2 Some filmmakers start out small and dream of hitting the big time with a major studio contract. Once they've reached that pinnacle, which would no doubt have included great compromise and a whittling away of their authentic voices, some dream of scaling back and making a little indie. Take the Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, for example. This Cleveland duo started out their feature directing careers with such little seen low-budget works as Pieces and Welcome To Collinwood. They rose through the ranks and have now made the most successful box office film to date with Avengers: End Game. With what seems like a drive to return to their Ohio roots, they've made Cherry, based on Nico Walker's semi-autobiographical novel and adapted by their sister Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg. The trouble is, this 15 years spanning story of a young college dropout who reacts to getting dumped by his girlfriend by becoming an Army medic, returns home with severe PTSD, develops an addiction to opioids, and resorts to robbing banks to feed the beast, does not play out as an intimate little Sundance gem. It's as if the Russos told the studios, "We've made you ALL the money, so now let us use ALL of the toys to make something meaningful." Now don't get me wrong, Cherry is a stunning looking film. Every shot has boldness, life, and energy. The production design, the early aughts period detail, even the look of its Cleveland streets are all eye-popping. As a person who grew up near Cleveland, I can attest to its perfectly captured brown brick/grey skies aesthetic. Despite its epic, nearly 2 1/2 hour running time, it never drags. Tom Holland and his incredible costars shine. You could watch this film without sound and think it's the most cinematic, perfect movie you've ever seen. So what's the problem? It's all just too much. Playing like a "Greatest Hits" mashup of Goodfellas, Full Metal Jacket, Zero Dark Thirty, Trainspotting, and Dog Day Afternoon, to name a few, Cherry goes big, but doesn't go home. Using impressionism, surrealism, varying aspect ratios, voiceovers, bold chyron messaging, and every type of drone, dolly, and crane possible, we don't so much as get inside our main character's head as watch it explode all over the screen. It's certainly a valid approach, and it sets it apart from so many uninspired independent films of its ilk, but it results in holding its emotional resonance at a distance. You may chuckle when our unnamed lead character, nicknamed "Cherry", robs banks called Shitty One or Capitalist None, but it feels like showing off instead of making us really feel for the human beings at its center. At its core, this film wants to tackle the very serious subject of addiction, yet the style gets in the way. One of my favorite films on the topic, Sid And Nancy, had one flight of fancy in which the title characters kissed in an alley as garbage fell down on them from the sky, but kept things mostly real otherwise. Cherry is 141 minutes of garbage falling down from the sky. Again, that may sound harsh, but I don't blame the Russo Brothers for wanting to strut their stuff. They clearly have talent, and I'd love to see a film in which they learned to calm the fuck down. They certainly get great work from their cast. Tom Holland gives a heartbreaking, intimate performance filled with such vulnerability that you wish the camera would stop swooshing around him long enough for us to experience his great empathy better. Same goes for Ciara Bravo as his girlfriend who goes way down the rabbit hole of addiction with him. She starts out as your standard issue manic pixie dream girl only to erupt into palpable ferocity as things grow dire. Jack Raynor brings some much-needed comic relief as their preppy drug dealer known only as "Pills & Coke". The film keeps raising the question of whether or not Holland's character deserves to have friends, a partner, love. It's one we've seen before in films about addicts, yet this one stumbles badly in its final act, which amounts to a yadda-yadda montage during an incredibly important transition for our lead, only to dump him out the other side of it with an oddly tone-deaf, treacly final moment. They would have earned those final few seconds had we not been subjected to a decade-long chapter distilled into a few minutes of screen time. You'llwant to yell, "Run!" to someone onscreen instead of thinking, "Awwwwww".
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2021
    Between 2014 and 2019, the Russo brothers directed four Marvel movies with a combined worldwide box-office of over six billion dollars, so for their first foray from the world of super heroes and magic space gems, the brothers had carte blanche to pick whatever project they desired and Cherry was it. Watching all 140 minutes of this true-life tale, you get the feeling it's less a story about loss and redemption and more an overly extended excuse for Joe and Anthony Russo to use every stylistic trick they've ever wanted to employ to make their own inferior Goodfellas (or Casino). Free of MCU oversight, these guys are practically going full Tony Scott or Darren Aronofsky with the multitude of their visuals tricks and gimmicks. We're talking different aspect ratios, color washes and spotlights, heightened fade outs, fourth wall breaks and freeze frames, chapter titles complete with prologue and epilogue, in-your-face subtitles, tracking shots, and even oblique angles such as a point of view from inside Tom Holland's inspected rectum. Cherry is aggressively flashy to compensate for how little substance there is with its story and humdrum characters. It's based on a true story about Nico Walker (Holland), an Iraq War veteran coming back to Ohio, getting hooked on drugs, and resorting to robbing banks The trauma of his war experiences leads him to seek help and the system fails him and pushes opioids on him, turning him into another addict among too many who is desperate to do anything for cash. On paper, that sounds like it would be interesting, and the shocking part is that for all these identifiable dramatic elements and stylistic flourishes, Cherry is kind of dull. Everything feels like it's kept at a surface-only level. Walker is just not that interesting even though interesting things happen to him. You would think it's about PTSD, the opioid crisis, economic anxiety, and while these elements are present they are not really explored with any sustained nuance or theme. The level of social commentary stops at Fight Club-level snarky sight gags, like the names of the banks being "The Bank" and "Shitty Bank." There's too much bloat with the plot and running time. By far the most interesting section of the movie was his descent into addiction and the criminal excursion, but Walker doesn't even exit the war until over an hour in. We did not need all the fluff before the war to properly set up this limited character. The real drama of the movie is post-war, and there's an hour of setup that could have been cleaved away. You leave this stuff in as "texture" if you're building something rich in atmosphere and character but I can only tell you what has happened to Walker externally. He's perfectly unremarkable. The movie is too shallow for its own possible ambitions, and it ultimately feels like cribbed notes and homages to other movies the Russos enjoyed, like Goodfellas or Requiem for a Dream or Boogie Nights. It only reminds you of other, better movies, and one I was reminded of was Roger Avary's Rules of Attraction. I appreciated the flash and style of that 2002 movie because it was about empty characters living empty lives striving for something they were incapable of, so the excessive and prioritized visual artifice worked. With Cherry, the visual trickery is distraction from the underwritten characters who the movie very much wants us to see favorably through their struggles. I enjoy Holland (Spider-Man: Far From Home) as an actor immensely but he is miscast here. He's too boyish and charming and genial to ably perform dark and gritty antiheroes. You sense he's eager to try these "darker roles" to prove himself but he doesn't need to. Ciaria Bravo (Wayne) plays the girlfriend/infatuation object/junkie partner and she looks so young that see feels like an unsupervised child onscreen. Maybe that works with her as a symbol of innocence. Cherry is a movie that left me indifferent and shrugging throughout all its excesses and meandering. It feels like a movie the Russos needed to get out of their system, one of creative indulgence charging into familiar territory when more restraint, nuance, and contemplation would have sufficed, and maybe their next movie will be more mature and fulfilling and worthy of 140 minutes. Nate's Grade: C
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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