Thursday, January 7, 2021

Herself Review: A Slow Building Drama About Slowly Rebuilding Your Life

Molly McCann	Molly McCann	...	Molly Clare Dunne	Clare Dunne	...	Sandra Ruby Rose O'Hara	Ruby Rose O'Hara	...	Emma Ian Lloyd Anderson	Ian Lloyd Anderson	...	Gary Shadaan Felfeli	Shadaan Felfeli	...	Shop Keeper Cathy Belton	Cathy Belton	...	Jo Art Kearns	Art Kearns	...	John the Pub Landlord Sarah Kinlen	Sarah Kinlen	...	Ms. Breen (Solicitor) Ericka Roe	Ericka Roe	...	Amy Anita Petry	Anita Petry	...	Rosa Lorcan Cranitch	Lorcan Cranitch	...	Michael Tina Kellegher	Tina Kellegher	...	Tina Donking Rongavilla	Donking Rongavilla	...	Lazlo Ger Carey	Ger Carey	...	Landlord Damien Kearney	Damien Kearney	...	Homeless Man in Car Park

Release date: January 8, 2020
Running time: 98 minutes
Starring: Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Ruby Rose O’Hara & Molly McCann
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Written by Clare Dunne & Malcolm Campbell

Single mother Sandra (Clare Dunne) escapes her abusive partner with her two young children, only to find herself trapped in temporary accommodation. After months of struggling, she draws inspiration from one of her daughter’s bedtime stories and hits upon the idea of self-building an affordable home. She finds an architect who provides her with plans and is offered land by Peggy (Harriet Walter), a woman she cleans for. Aido (Conleth Hill), a building contractor, appears willing to help, too. But as her past rears its head in the form of Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson), her possessive ex, and as bureaucrats fight back against her independent spirit, will Sandra be able to rebuild her life from the ground up?

Herself is fueled by the powerful performance of Clare Dunne, who portrays a single mother who is dealing with economic and emotional issues following her violent separation with her abusive ex-husband.  The film starts with a very emotional scene that will get you invested in the entire story and her predicament.  And from there the drama continues as she tries to build a life for herself and her kids while still dealing with the pain and consequences of leaving him.  And Dunne does this perfectly, displaying a range of emotions as she tries to create this new life.  Much of the film focuses on her, so she is tasked with carrying the movie and does it perfectly.  From pain, regret, desperation, and joy, Dunne brings the character of Sandra to life.  

Directed by  Phyllida Lloyd	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Malcolm Campbell	 Clare Dunne	 Sourav Kumar     Mary Burke	...	executive producer Emmet Fleming	...	line producer Rose Garnett	...	executive producer Rory Gilmartin	...	producer Ed Guiney	...	producer Sharon Horgan	...	producer Phyllida Lloyd	...	executive producer Andrew Lowe	...	executive producer Lesley McKimm	...	executive producer Clelia Mountford	...	executive producer Alison Thompson	...	executive producer Daniel Walker	...	associate producer
But Herself is not just about the powerful performances.  The film itself shows some of the issues with the affordable housing situation.  And although it takes place in the UK the inequities of the affordable housing system and a bureaucracy that can act as a hinderance are applicable everywhere.  From treating people in affordable housing differently, to using the system to attack someone, to the difficulty of reaching out for help, and the shame the risk that one small mishap could have you out of the system, issues that many are dealing with and many have never thought of are laid bare for all to see.  And Herself highlights the determination of one person against all these road blocks that could be used to block that dream. Granted, Herself does paint an emotional journey about a strong character, but she gets a lot of help along the way that is outside the reach of most people in this situation.  The assistance that Sandra receives makes for an emotional, fulfilling movie but it also doesn't seem particularly realistic.  That being said, it does make for good cinema.  

But the film also highlights helping others in a time when it seems like that can be forgotten.  There are some poignant lines in the film about doing something for your fellow human being that should be universal but it sadly not as common today.  And although the movie is a very good one, there are minor flaws here and there.  I felt like some of the cuts during the building of the film and initial moments left some of the details out and the ending seems to be rushed.  And as already mentioned, Sandra does receive some very generous help to make it through her journey, so it is a unique and fortuitous situation for her.  But don't let these minor criticisms keep you from seeing this film.

Herself tells a powerful tale of growth and independence fueled by Dunne's powerful performance and universal lessons about the affordable housing system.

Watch it.

Herself Drama Motherhood Children Amazon Prime

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Herself is available on Amazon Prime Video on January 8, 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment