Sarah is a world-weary, worn and exhausted single mother for whom relief – any relief – couldn’t come any faster at the start of Abner Pastoll’s new clenched-first drama “A Good Woman is Hard to Find”—and that’s not taking into account our introduction as she showers off the blood mysteriously caked on her body. Nor have we yet learned about her husband’s death, the particulars of which remain murky even to her. Sarah has been shaped by circumstance, and she’ll be shaped by circumstance once more; and by the end of Pastoll’s unrelentingly brutal thriller about murderers and motherhood, its actress Sarah Bolger’s remarkable performance that helps the catharsis peek through the carnage.
“Just let sleeping dogs lie,” a police officer tells Sarah when she asks if there’s any new information on her husband’s death. It’s less a response fueled by malice and more a crude suggestion of a world that doesn’t have comfort to offer, whether by economic means or interpersonal ones. Sarah, with eyes that don’t look like they’ve rested in decades, can only respond by shuffling out with her young son and daughter. While Pastoll’s film – written by Ronan Blaney – only scratches the surface of underlying economic anxiety that has fueled a community drug war, the deathly passivity playing out on Bolger’s face in any given scene translates familiar moods of overwhelmed surrender. Continue reading →