In a crime-ridden area of Belfast, a widow struggles to protect her two young children.
Title: A Good Woman is Hard to Find | Starring: Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson | Director: Abner Pastoll | Writer: Ronan Blaney | Release Date: 2020 | Runtime: 1 hr 37 min | Genre: Crime/Thriller | Source: Purchased from Amazon Prime | Starred Review
A Good Woman is Hard to Find Review
Sarah’s husband was stabbed while spending time at a park with their six-year-old son, who has become mute as a result of the experience. Even though she barely makes ends meet, Sarah is too proud to accept money from her judgmental mother. An encounter with a thug puts Sarah in a precarious position, which triggers her fierce mama bear mojo and gets her into deeper trouble.
Sarah is constantly treated like trash by everyone from a bullying grocery store worker to the police. Many of the other characters make crude assumptions about her. For example, when she goes to the police station to inquire about the status of the investigation into her husband’s death, the desk officer expects she’s there to file a domestic violence complaint. Even her mother calls her “too soft” and looks at her with distain. Sarah is a good mother, spending quality time with her children and never pressuring her son to speak even though he may hold the key to solving her husband’s murder. Her isolation, both self-imposed and by society, is palpable. Every small win brings loads of conflict and complications.
Initially, I found Leo Miller, the big bad in this movie, to be a bit over the top with his hair trigger temper and violent tendencies. However, upon reflection, he makes a great antagonist, because he isn’t someone who can be reasoned with, and even if Sarah had a rich benefactor, Leo would likely still demand payment in blood. Literary heroes such as Jack Reacher typically dispatch psychopaths like Leo in order to rescue people like Sarah. The cast, however, includesno such knight in shining armor. This grieving housewife must use everything at her disposal to face her problem head on. If she can’t turn being underestimated into a super power, she and her children could meet the same fate as her husband.
The movie works for me on multiple levels. Bolger makes Sarah likable, relatable, and believable. The writing and cinematography are fantastic. Every concrete and abstract element sings from a sex toy to a figure of speech. The pacing is perfect, as is the plotting. I was so impressed with the screenwriting, that I bought the book (Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke) the writer recommended.
I’m someone who doesn’t watch many movies multiple times, but I’ve seen this film four timesand counting. I like seeing a female character who refuses to be a victim, and I think you will too.
Watch it on Amazon Prime or Shudder.
A bit off the beaten track for this blog. We recently watched 2019’s “The Whistlers,” a Romanian crime film, and found it interesting, so I recommend it.