Posted by Nick Poyner on October 5, 2010 at 11:00 am
A college freshman falling in love with an older woman is not a revolutionary idea for a movie. When you throw in that the older woman’s teenage daughter is in love with said college freshman, things get a little more interesting. Make the kid a genius, and you have yourself a truly unconventional little movie. Thus is the case for Cherry, one of the spotlights of the Hamptons International Film Festival.
The best thing about Cherry is that all the characters are immediately likable. Aaron, the freshman played by Kyle Gallner, is sheltered and smart but wants to explore college. He is able to do that by befriending a single mother Linda (Laura Allen) and her daughter Beth (Britt Robertson). However, for each character, there is a lurking darker side. No one is portrayed as a bad guy here, just a lot of people with morally conflicting ideas and/or actions. But what they do feels natural in the grand scheme of things, and as a viewer, you want them to resolve their issues; you don’t end up hating them for it.
This good/evil mix would feel forced in certain situations except these actors really strut their stuff, resulting in interesting, emotional performances. Gallner is great as the kid, but the mother-daughter combo is really what brings the movie to life. Allen, as the struggling single mother with a bit of an alcohol and sex problem, makes it easy to feel sorry for her, love her, and hate her at the same time. Robertson, as the daughter, steals the show. She not only has to take care of her mother but also keep Aaron’s head on straight while forcing her own personal crush on him. She is a real up and comer, that one.
Director Jeffrey Fine demanded expert performances out of his actors, staying true to the story he wrote himself. While it may be a little left of what you’re used to, the setting gives it a homey, warm feeling that fits the characters and the atmosphere perfectly.
If you’re into indie movies with heart, then this one’s for you. The whole thing is well executed so I’m going to have to give it a big SEE IT.
(Also, I was able to talk to director Jeffrey Fine and my interview will be up in the coming week, so check back in for that.)