Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as the film opens has served three years in prison. She is a heroin addict and has a little girl, Alexis (Ryan Simpkins) who is living with her brother (Brad William Henke) and sister-in-law (Lynn Bridget Barkan).
Sherry is grown up but hasn't matured, she freely engages in sexual activity in a mater-of-fact manner and easily becomes angered when her sister-in-law appears to have a far closer relationship with her daughter.
Gyllenhaal's Sherry teeters on the edge, close to falling back into her old ways and carrying expectations from other folks that are far from reasonable.
In a simple story of a young woman who is filled with anger and lacks the ability and stability to right herself, Gyllenhaal hits right on the mark every time. For two hours she is Sherry, calmly sexual, oblivious of reality and selfish enough to place her little girl in danger. Her performance is worthy of award nominations.