A Good Woman Is Hard To Find…
With his second feature length film, director Abner Pastoll has gifted us once again with a movie that places ordinary people into extraordinary predicaments. Written by Ronan Blaney, A Good Woman is Hard to Find focuses on Sarah, a recently widowed mother of two who is barely holding herself together. Played with a perfect balance of exhaustion, grief and mama bear fortitude by Sarah Bolger (Emelie), this single mom not only finds herself raising two young children after the murder of her husband, but her son Ben witnessed the crime and is no longer speaking. And because this isn’t enough mental and emotional stress for one woman, she is also barely making ends meet. Watching Sarah shop for groceries on a very meager and very specific budget only to have Ben throw her a financial curve ball by eating a chocolate bar and being caught by an employee is so heartbreaking, but Sarah still manages to create a loving and caring home environment despite the embarrassment that singes her cheeks while the dickhead grocery clerk watches her pay for the pilfered chocolate bar.
While Sarah is trying to be a productive member of society, Tito is trying to make easy money by stealing drugs from the local thugs. Played by Andrew Simpson, Tito is a straight up piece of crap human who barges his way into Sarah’s home looking for a hiding spot for both himself and the drugs he has just stolen. Concerned only with the safety of her children, Sarah just kind of lets this entire transaction occur, surely assuming it will be over and she will never see Tito again. Unfortunately, Tito plans on keeping the drugs at Sarah’s place, returning every day to pick some up, sell them and then give a finders fee to Sarah. Despite being very cash poor, Sarah wants nothing to do with this, but Tito is going to do what Tito wants to do and this is how everything will quickly go downhill for everyone involved.
Simpson starred in Pastoll’s first film Road Games and it’s a lot of fun to see him inhabit a completely different character like a second skin. Simpson is the real deal and he delivers moments of humor right alongside darkly menacing ones with such ease that you almost like Tito. Almost. Sarah Bolger is equally compelling in her ability to be “ugly” for the camera, emotionally raw, completely lovable and then put on some lipstick and pull her badass self together. Bolger has delivered a standout performance.
With his sophomore effort, Pastoll has proven that he isn’t just a one hit wonder in the suspense department. He has seamlessly blended the beauty that can be found in everyday life with the ugliness of crime and its unwitting victims. Throw in a body disposal scene that can easily be utilized as a rad horror music video, a shower scene that does not include gratuitous nudity and the self restraint to not blatantly point out things that may or may not come into play later and Pastoll has crafted a beautiful thriller with blood and grime in all of the right places.
Fantasia Fest 2019 is showing special advanced screenings of A Good Woman is Hard to Find with Abner Pastoll hosting.
Images: Fantasia Film Festival