A Good Woman is Hard to Find (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

If you’ve ever seen Sarah Bolger act, it’s stunning how she can go from innocent to cold as ice in a second flat and make it believable. Seriously, check out the under seen “Emelie” for proof. What she does in “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is portray the quintessence of the lengths parents are willing to go through to protect their children. Not only diving head first in to violence, but the willingness to delve in to darker corners of our own humanity, and what we’re capable of sacrificing in order to create a future for our kids.

Bolger plays Sarah, a young widowed mother who spends every waking moment of her days caring for her two children Ben and Lucy. Still reeling from losing her husband, Sarah is hoping to turn a corner by getting Ben to speak after the shock of witnessing his father being stabbed to death during what she was told was a botched drug deal. Raising her children in a crime ridden neighborhood, local drug dealer Tito steals a stash of cocaine from a powerful king pin and literally comes crashing through her door. Intent on hiding his stash in her apartment, Tito forces Sarah to help him or else. As he becomes much more troublesome and violent toward her, Sarah soon realizes she has to do something about the escalating violence of her situation, or she might her family.

“A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is the most dramatic and compelling work Bolger has ever put in as an actress, yet. It is an emotional ride that proves Sarah Bolger is one of the great acting talents that deserves humongous acclaim. Bolger is fantastic as a woman who is at her wits end is still coming to terms with her past. As she faces her very judgmental mother who insists Sarah’s husband was a drug dealer, Sarah has to face extraordinary circumstances while also coming to terms with the fact that perhaps she’s in dire straits because she invited it years before. When we first meet her, she’s a young woman barely keeping it together as a mother and provider.

The moment Leo comes crashing through her door, she has to figure out if she’s willing to crumble to his dominance and stay his hostage, or take control once and for all. One element of the narrative that’s quite interesting is the conflict that Ronan Blaney sets up by making Sarah someone the audience will often have their own personal issues with. She’s clearly someone who’s made bad choices in the past, and the precedence she’s set consistently keeps us doubting whether she can solve her problems. She’s someone who never quite has the proper judgment, and it becomes intense when events spiral out of control and she works tirelessly to get out her jam.

The events that are propped up for Sarah seem almost insurmountable. The more Sarah tries to squirm out of her circumstances the more we begin to wonder how if she’s merely walking in to catastrophe or actually has something handy for her persistent male stalkers. “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is a compelling, and wrenching character piece led brilliantly by Bolger.

Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 11th to August 1st 2019.