Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has been out of prison all of four days, and her adventures since being freed are enough to make one want to go right back. She's sleeping on her brother's (Brad William Henke) front stoop, her resolve to stay clean is wavering dangerously and her 5-year-old daughter (Ryan Simpkins) calls her “Sherry” instead of “Mom” and is, by all indications, terrified of her.

As one can surmise, Sherrybaby is all about Swanson's fight to stay clean and redeem herself in the eyes of her family. What the film is not, however, is 96 minutes' worth of movie-of-the-week problems that look overwhelming for two acts before Swanson magically rises above it all just in time for the credits.

Good films about attempted redemption are good because they don't look for the easy way out, and Sherrybaby – thanks equally to its script and the terrific cast that gives it life – is a very good film. Danny Trejo and Bridget Barkan also star. No extras.

Grade: A