Not only A Good Woman Is Hard to Find but also a good movie is hard to find. However, you’ll find one with this thriller with a lot of black humor. If you need to get a movie about a struggling single mother of two going, just show her covered in blood in the first frame. From there, slowly transition to the shower scene and you’re set. On the other hand, it seems that they really didn’t need any of that as the story is both engaging and intelligent. Leave it to the Irish to make that special blend of harsh realism, odd situations, and a hilarious atmosphere. Soon, you’ll see that this movie is much more than that initial premise. Despite this being an indie movie, production values are great, and cinematography sharp and appealing.
A Good Woman is Hard to Find touches upon many different and very current social issues. And it does so with any melodrama or preachiness and with great care and precision. The interactions feel authentic, stemming from well-written characters and dialogue. Like something you would actually witness in your own neighborhood. And perhaps you did. Although our protagonist is a woman I could identify with her on so many levels. Especially that “you need to be tougher, they’re going to walk all over you” banter felt familiar. And while the plot feels a bit familiar the picture of social realism it paints is simply captivating.
Meet Sarah Collins, a recently widowed mother of two struggling to keep things going after her husbands’ murder. The police are telling her to stop asking questions, her son is unable to talk after the incident and she’s having cash flow issues. And just when she thought things could not get any worse a petty criminal who just stole a whole bunch of cocaine bursts through her door.
I would love to visit that Leo’s club as they have some pretty awesome gigs apparently. Black metal with hints of doom and growl vocals warm this weathered soul of mine. Moving on, Sarah Bolger was simply stellar here and immediately I checked out the rest of her filmography. Her performance was pitch-perfect and very nuanced as some of the scenes needed the right balance between drama and humor. Andrew Simpson was also great as Tito and yes, in case you’re wondering, Tito was really the nickname of the former president of Yugoslavia Josip Broz. It’s the little things like this that show you just how good the script is and how much effort was put into this movie. Also, to avoid confusion, percentages mean pound value and not actually percentages.
The normalization of domestic violence in today’s society seems like something that simply doesn’t exist. And while it may not exist in your or your friend’s environment it sure as shit is alive and kicking in these small environments. Not to mention people who are struggling with poverty or addiction. Sprinkle some misogyny on top of all this and you would think that this is some social justice warrior movie. However, A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is far from it. It shines a light on these issues in a very smart and unobtrusive way and with style.
Finally, I want to talk about the issue of small-town crime. Every small town has its own Leo along with every neighborhood in a bigger city. You might even see them in local pubs, cafes, and restaurants, although if they’re smart they’ll hang out either in private or exclusive places. And no one cares. The police don’t care, city officials don’t care and you can be fucking sure that the politicians don’t care. Everyone is just pretending that nothing is going on and waiting for the problems to resolve themselves. The only time when they actually do something about them is when they have absolutely no other option.
This brings us to our society in general because most people are also pretending that nothing is going on. Domestic violence is something that either doesn’t happen or in the worst-case scenario, something that’s justified by drugs, alcohol, or something else. Treating women like shit or sexual objects is just part of our heritage and it’s just friendly banter. All of this is part of the thing I keep talking about and that’s the tribal system of values. And in times of great emotional distress, some might even acknowledge it. Like Sarah’s mother did when they had that talk late at night. Just something to think about folks.
I also can’t help but comment on the very last scene in the movie. We can’t pretend that we’re not living in this fucked up world and take the moral high ground all the time. Sometimes, if it’s warranted, convenient, and if it doesn’t require too many resources you can and should strike back. If you’re looking for something similar, I recommend you check out Bad Day for the Cut and Calvary.
PS The title of the slow black metal song performed live in the Leo’s club is Atonement by Deitus, a London-based band. So, not only A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is a good movie but it also features a great music selection.
Director: Abner Pastoll
Writer: Ronan Blaney
Cast: Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson, Jane Brennan, Caolan Byrne, Packy Lee, Rudy Doherty, Macie McCauley
Fun Facts: The vibrator scene called for ” a pink vibrator,” and when the art department presented it to Pastoll and Bolger they were surprised by its size. “Best film ever,” added Bolger, and the filmmaker says he’s been approached by multiple women identifying with Sarah’s struggle.