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USA: Fine Line Features
Cast: Robin Tunney, Tim Blake Nelson, Brad Hunt, Liz Phair, Jason Priestley, Nora Dunn, Lindsay Crouse, Ricardo Gil, Kenny Kwong, Stephen Polk, Michael Vaughn Breitenstein, Scott Breitenstein, Adam Del Rio, Phil LaMarr, Banks McClintock, Nina Peschcke-Koedt
Director: Finn Taylor
USA: 99 mins
USA Rated: R for language
USA Release Date: 7 June 2002 (Limited Release - Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco)
A fantasy-prone young woman confronts a life-altering reality when she is placed in a house arrest program in Finn Taylor's vibrant CHERISH. As it follows its heroine on the road to self-reinvention and vindication, CHERISH invests several classic film scenarios with new life and cleverly tweaks genre convention at every turn. By turns comic and intense, sexy and whimsical, CHERISH transcends genre to become a uniquely entertaining hybrid.
Zoe Adler (Robin Tunney, VERTICAL LIMIT) is a 29-year-old computer animator with a tendency to speak too fast and too much whenever she feels uncomfortable - which is often. She has an ultra-cool boss (Liz Phair) who openly snubs her, and a brand-new condo that she compulsively flees whenever she finds herself alone. To soothe her jittery soul, Zoe loses herself in romantic fantasies and in music, phoning in requests for her favorite 80s synth-pop hits to San Francisco's KXCH 'Cherish' radio, home of sugary love songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
One night, after crashing an office party at a local club, Zoe takes a spin on the dance floor with her latest crush, Andrew (Jason Priestley). Three martinis later, she accepts Andrew's offer of a ride home and goes to retrieve her cell phone from her car - unaware that someone was been watching and waiting for her. Surprised in her car, Zoe becomes the victim of a bizarre kidnapping that ends only after her captor forces her into the path of a bicycle policeman. Knocked unconscious, Zoe wakes up to find her assailant gone and herself unfairly accused in a cop's death. And with no physical evidence at the scene, Zoe's tale of kidnapping fails to move even her lawyer (Nora Dunn).
A poor prospect for survival in prison, Zoe is put into the city's electronic bracelet program and begins her incarceration in an industrial loft apartment in a dodgy part of town. Once the bracelet is clamped around Zoe's ankle, her world shrinks to the 50-foot radius prescribed by a tracking modem. Her computer is verboten, leaving her only the telephone as a communication device. All this is carefully explained to Zoe by the serious, conscientious Daly (Tim Blake Nelson, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?), a county deputy who has been trained to administer the program and who has learned the hard way that his job is not without hazards.
Faced with both the loss of her freedom and a two-year expanse of mind-numbing solitude, Zoe has to be inventive. She wastes no time in making her first escape attempt, trying desperately to pry the noxious bracelet from her ankle, but finds Daly's description of the device's impenetrability all too accurate. So Zoe gets in touch with her inner handyman and begins rigging devices to test limits of the electronic monitoring system. Exploring her vertical range of motion, Zoe climbs up an airshaft, becoming well acquainted with the mysteries of the building, not to mention her upstairs neighbors' personal habits. Zoe reaches outward, as well. Like an inner-city Rapunzel, she waves to the neighborhood kids from her window and, after a rocky start, she becomes friends with her wheelchair-bound neighbor Max (Ricardo Gil). Though Max's wheelchair makes a visit all but impossible, he and Zoe share beers and confidences from their respective ends of the stairwell. Zoe's most constant visitor remains Daly, who retains his professional demeanor despite his growing feelings for his music-loving charge.
As two years draw to a close and her trial date looms, it is a very different Zoe who to takes stock of her situation. A prisoner of her fantasies no more, she realizes that she must become her own superhero in order to prove her innocence and win her freedom. With Daly as her witting accomplice, Zoe sets out to catch the real killer: the same thief who stole her life.