Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) goes back to her New Jersey home town after having served a three-year sentence for drug dealing. While she was in prison, the life of her family has undergone great changes. She has to re-build bonds with the small daughter she left in the care of her brother and his wife. Job-hunting and keeping her word to her parole officer are harsh challenges for someone who spent a lot of time on the wrong side of the tracks. Both fragile and tough, strong and vulnerable, Sherry makes her way through misunderstandings, temptations of the street and the results of a long absence.
I watched this film over two days. The first day I was really tired and I found it quite lengthy and boring, but the next day it seemed much pacier. I think the strongest moments happen about two thirds into the film, at Alexis' birthday party. It makes you understand everything. In the end I quite enjoyed the subtlety of the film, while simultanously disturbed by the way so many things are left in the dark, unsaid.