I am a fan of Tom Holland and the Russo Brothers. Unfortunately, their new collaboration does not match the work the trio reached in the MCU.

Cherry is the new movie debuting on Apple TV + this weekend, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and starring Tom Holland. It was based on a novel of the same name that told the story of a troubled young man who, after it seemed as if Emily (Ciara Bravo), the love of his life, was leaving him to go to college in Montreal, joined the army and wound up a medic in Iraq. He spent two years in the horrors of war in the Middle East, pushing his mental wellness to the edge. When he returned, he was suffering from severe PTSD and had to turn to drugs to get through the day.

There are several problems with Cherry, but Tom Holland is not one of them. Holland gives a stellar performance, elevating the material that, in many cases, really let him down. He was very believable in every moment of his pain and his suffering trying to make it through the day. He has good chemistry with Ciara Bravo, who is also excellent in her performance.

However, the script never goes above the expected steps that would take this movie into a different, more original direction. It is overlong and drags in the middle badly. Cherry has a feel like Forrest Gump on crack.

There are too many attempts to turn the film into a stylish artistic piece. The POV from Tom Holland’s butthole took things just too far for my taste. Most of these shots felt like a desperate attempt to find a relevancy for the movie because the movie’s story was lacking in anything special.

None of the other characters in the film, outside of the two main ones, are anything more than stereotypes and poorly drawn caricatures. Any attempt at giving them more to do was wasted by the movie and just felt like more clutter added to an already messy tale. It felt as if several of these characters and moments involving them could have been cut out to make room for more exploration of the main story.

Motivations of the characters were messy as well, including some of the decisions made by Cherry that would end up affecting his life forever. The ending as well felt tacked on and did not seem to fit with the narrative that had been told up until that point.

Good performances and director tricks do not a movie make. Especially one that lasts 2 hours and 20 minutes.

2.4 stars

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