A Good Woman is Hard To Find is a surprise out of the Fantasia International Film Festival. The small, intimate tale of a woman, Sarah, who tragically lost her husband and now finds herself in a horrible predicament as she tries to raise her children is a hard subject, but with star Sarah Bolger and director Abner Pastoll’s careful hand, it proves a formidable film.
It’s a downright honest picture, characters unflinchingly strange and full of eccentricities and urges. It’s not often someone admits to stabbing a man in the eye with a dildo and says it with conviction, but this movie certainly does that.
The honesty also comes in its violence, how messy and uncertain it can be. That violence comes in flashes and is never gratuitous, but it makes sure to show its affects on the characters involved.
The film is littered with a motley crew of degenerates around Sarah, thugs and gangsters who roam the streets and inflict pain in order to make a few bucks. Well-being appears to be a thing of the past in this world, the few good people left made to look around every corner as they go about their lives. Even in the grocery store, Sarah isn’t safe from sexual comments tossed her way.
This is Sarah Bolger’s movie, through and through. She sets fire to every scene she’s in, filling the screen with absolute empathy, conviction, and tenacity. Emotions run high across the runtime, and Bolger makes every moment a gauntlet, accepting the challenge head-on and becoming a force. She’s meek and terrified in one moment, powerful and in control in another. It’s the transformation that is exciting.
She’s a talent that helps carry the movie, even when it’s a little slight at the edges. It’s a simple movie, but in the end that becomes a positive, as the fat is cut off and what you’re left with is a film about empowerment and finding one’s voice after it’s been taken. It may be a little on the nose that an actual character has that exact plot point, as well, but it’s an idea with good intentions.
A Good Woman is Hard To Find proves Sarah Bolger one to watch out for. The film around her is a compelling work of tension, accompanied by a soundscape of raw synths and at times savage noise. Tied together, both the lead and film complement one another and prove themselves greatly.