After Hulk-smashing box-office records with Avengers: Endgame, the Russo brothers could have cast any A-lister from their star-studded Gmail contacts list for Cherry. The actor they picked to star alongside Tom Holland, though, was Ciara Bravo, a Cincinnati-born performer known for Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush and Fox’s mainstream sitcom Red Band Society – not the obvious choice for a gritty, fucked-up opioid drama.
Still, in Cherry, Bravo more than proves her worth with her sensitive depiction of Emily, an addict undergoing everything from literal highs to rock-bottom lows. Early on, Emily is sweet and innocent, evoking Bravo’s background in family-friendly TV. Then, when introduced to OxyContin, Emily descends in a downward spiral into crime, heroin, and other subplots rarely touched by Nickelodeon. It’s in these scenes of heartbreak, often with a dash of gallows humour, that Bravo proves her versatility as an actor: the whole range of human emotions in a two-hour movie.
The thing is, Bravo is now an LA-based veteran, having landed Big Time Rush at 12, then steadily working through her adolescence. More recently, she’s featured in Hulu’s A Teacher, Amazon Prime’s Wayne, and The Long Dumb Road (she’s the bratty teen who lies to Jason Mantzoukas that her mother’s dead). Next up, her projects include Small Engine Repair and I Don’t Want to Be an Artist Anymore, thus continuing what looks to be a promising, unpredictable career.
Text Nick Chen