CHERRY*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
PROLOGUE – 2007
The protagonist, “Cherry” (Tom Holland), is 23 years old, lives in Ohio, and narrates about his position in life and how he has come to this point. He approaches a car and speaks to the driver about meeting him elsewhere, before proceeding to pull off a bank robbery. He explains to the viewers his method of doing so before going to the teller, Vanessa (Tamara Austin), and politely demanding that he give up the money. Cherry looks at her and says he feels a kind of sadness, like he knew things were going to end right there.
PART ONE – When Life Was Beginning, I Saw You – 2002
Cherry becomes infatuated with his college English classmate Emily (Ciara Bravo), but he is already in a relationship with a woman named Madison (Kelli Burglund). However, Madison sees Cherry as weak and openly flirts and goes off with other men when he visits her at college. In between school, Cherry tries to find work, but only lasts two weeks at a pizzeria when the manager sees him as useless.
Cherry spends time with his best friend James Lightfoot (Forrest Goodluck), along with a guy named Roy (Kyle Harvey) and his cousin Joe (Michael Gandolfini). James chastises Joe for planning to go off to join the marines. After Cherry gives the guys some xanax and gets ecstasy in return from a dealer, he joins his friends at a party where he runs into Emily. He tells her he likes her, and they go for a walk before later hooking up. When she offers him sex, Cherry starts crying over his own personal nerves and emotions, but she tells him not to feel ashamed about it. He later learns about how Emily caught her father cheating on her mother and got a black eye after telling her mom about it.
Emily later tells Cherry that she is going to school in Montreal, meaning they would have to break up. He doesn’t handle it well, and later decides to enlist in the army. Emily tells Cherry she wants to say goodbye, so he invites her to a party where he will be serving drinks, but he gets upset when she brings another student, Benji (Toney Goins). After Emily leaves, Cherry spends the rest of the party there and is given a ride home by a drunk guy named Tommy (Michael Rispoli). When he gets home, he finds Emily there crying. After comforting her, they spend time together, and Emily reveals she’s not going to Montreal. She admits that she lied about it because she wanted to get away from Cherry since she found herself falling in love with him. He tells her he is shipping off, making it harder on both of them. However, before Cherry leaves, he and Emily get married at the courthouse.
PART TWO – Basic – 2003
Cherry joins the army and goes through the harsh training from the drill sergeants. He befriends another private, Jimenez (Jeff Wahlberg), who joined to support his pregnant wife and their unborn child. While training to be a medic, Cherry learns he is color blind. The men are trained to kill insurgents, and some of them attempt suicide so that they don’t have to graduate the training. Cherry and Jimenez complete their medic training before heading out into the field. In the meantime, Cherry does his best to maintain contact with Emily.
PART THREE – Cherry
The troops are sent out onto the battlefield to fight. Cherry sees several men horribly killed and maimed, which adds to his stress and anxiety. They drive out into the village and share snacks with the local children. When Cherry tries to share a bag with a little girl, the other boys knock her down and take the snack. Back at the tents, Jimenez tells Cherry that his wife gave birth to their child.
One day, the troops get their van stuck in a hole out in the desert. After it’s moved out, Jimenez and his team drive away, only to get caught in the blast of an IED. Cherry runs over to the wreckage and can only stare at Jimenez’s burnt corpse afterward.
PART FOUR – Home – 2005
The soldiers return home, and Cherry reunites with Emily. They move into their new home, and Cherry gets a construction job with Joe, who has also returned from a tour overseas. The two suffer from PTSD and panic attacks. Joe even attempts suicide at one point by jumping out of the car his girlfriend is driving, with Cherry and Emily in the backseat.
Cherry’s trauma causes him to lose sleep and takes a toll on him physically. He reunites with James after he broke into Cherry’s old house, thinking he still lived there, and Cherry had to bail him out. Cherry tries to get veteran aid but has trouble with it. His behavior affects Emily as well. Their date to the opera is cut short after Cherry argues with another patron for no reason, and then injures his hand after punching the bathroom mirror. His doctor later prescribes him OxyContin, but Cherry abuses it and only feels right when he takes a lot of it. The stress from it all causes Emily to start taking some, leading to her developing an addiction.
CHAPTER FIVE – Dope Life
Cherry and Emily become junkies and start to abuse heroin and Oxy. They get hooked up with a local drug dealer, “Pills and Coke” (Jack Reynor). When Cherry asks Pills to front him some drugs until he is good for the money, Pills tells him to look after a safe belonging to his boss, a criminal called Black (Daniel R. Hill), who is also the man in the car that Cherry was talking to at the beginning. Cherry and Emily break the safe open with James’s help, and they go on a drug binge. They later hear a loud pounding on the door, with someone claiming to be the police. Cherry and Emily dump all the drugs down the sink and toilet, but Cherry finds out it was just Pills. When he realizes the drugs are gone, he orders Cherry to come up with the money for it, or Black will kill them all.
Cherry stages a quiet bank robbery by writing a threatening note on a dollar bill to the teller. He makes up the money to pay Pills back, and while things look fine for him and Emily, they suffer withdrawals when their drugs run out, and they eventually run out of money, so Cherry continues to rob banks with no mask and the same note. After another bender, Cherry wakes up and sees that Emily is pale and unconscious. He rushes her to the hospital and admits to the nurse and officer that she took heroin. Emily’s mother and stepfather arrive, and the mother threatens Cherry to leave Emily alone. He goes back to his truck and stabs himself in the leg with a needle repeatedly.
Emily is checked into rehab, but she escapes and tries to reunite with Cherry. He tries to put her on a bus and send her back, but she refuses and says she will get high with or without him. He gives up and goes back home with her, and he resorts to going back to robbing banks. He brings James and Pills in on it as accomplices, but James is too scared to go through with it and is just a driver. When Cherry tries to get Pills to help, he bails midway through and forces Cherry to run. He has James turn the car around to look for Pills so that he doesn’t rat him out. They find Pills on the street after getting high, but he has been shot and is bleeding out. He dies in the backseat before they can take him to a hospital, so Cherry and James leave his body in a dark area.
Cherry is visited by Black, who demands the payment that he is owed, or he will kill him and Emily. Cherry sees Emily looking terribly high and worn out, and he bids her farewell. He goes off to the same bank from earlier, but after taking the money, he tells Vanessa to set off the alarm, promising not to hurt her. He dumps the money in Black’s car and walks into the street, firing a gun to draw police attention. Cherry then sits down to get high one last time before passing out just as the cops arrive.
Cherry is sentenced to several years in prison, but he goes through rehab and manages to kick his habit for good. When he is released on parole, he is happy to see Emily there to pick him up, as she has now gotten clean as well.
The protagonist, Cherry, starts off as a college student who falls in love with his classmate Emily. After she tells him she is going to school in Montreal, and with his struggles to find work, Cherry decides to join the army. Emily later tells him she was never going to Montreal and only said that to avoid her growing attraction to him. They marry before he ships off.
Cherry spends two years in the Middle East as a medic. He befriends a fellow troop, Jimenez, who is tragically killed in an IED explosion. After returning home to Emily, Cherry suffers from PTSD and panic attacks. To cope, he develops an addiction to OxyContin and heroin, and Emily soon follows to cope with the stress. They start buying from a dealer, Pills and Coke, but after he entrusts Cherry to look after a safe for his boss, Black, Cherry and Emily break into the safe with help from his friend James, going on a binge with the drugs inside. Pills comes looking for the safe and orders Cherry to pay the money back, or Black will kill all of them. Cherry robs a bank to pay off the debt.
With their drug addiction growing more and more out of control, Cherry continues robbing banks to pay for their drugs. Even after Emily OD's and nearly dies, she wants to stay with Cherry and do drugs with him. He ropes James and Pills into his scheme, only for Pills to back out and later get shot before Cherry and James find him again. When Black comes to collect another debt, even threatening Emily for it, Cherry does one last bank robbery before asks the bank teller to set off the alarm. He gives Black the money and waits to be arrested.
Cherry spends years in prison but gets clean and is let out on parole, where he reunites with a now sober Emily.