PLOT: A young Irish widow (Sarah Bolger) with two young children to support is put into a horrible position when a young drug dealer forces her to hide the stash of drugs he stole from his psychotic boss.
REVIEW: A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND is one of the niftier little sleepers to emerge from this year’s crop of films at the Fantasia Film Festival. More of a thriller than a straight-up genre exercise, as you might think it is from the gory stills, rather this is a highly intriguing character study with a terrific showcase performance for star Sarah Bolger.
Known mostly for her work on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off, “Mayans”, she plays a delicate single mom with a surprising iron will and backbone. She’s stuck in a horrible position where she not only has to struggle to make ends meet but also has to deal with the fact that her husband died in such a way that the cops are convinced it was drug-related, thus not interested at all in solving. She’s convinced he was clean and sober, but no one buys it thanks to his past.
Things get worse for her when a wired junkie dealer, Tito (Andrew Simpson) forces his way into her home and threatens her into hiding his stash. At first, she’s ok with going along with it for cash, but once she realizes his stuff is the property of crazed local kingpin Terry, all bets are off.
Given that the movie starts with her covered in blood and desperately trying to clean it off in the shower, you could safely assume things don’t go particularly well for this Irish lass. Here, director Abner Pastoll gets to indulge in a little limb hacking, and there are a few other gory bits and pieces here and there. For the most part, though, it’s a gangster thriller, pitting this quiet gal up against a brutish force of nature than endangers her children – and there ain’t nothing she won’t do to protect them.
In some ways, A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND reminds me of two thrillers from the mid-nineties, TRIAL BY JURY and THE JUROR. Bolger is outstanding as the vulnerable, but tough mum, while Edward Hogg gives a memorably deranged performance as the nutso drug lord, Leo Miller. It’s Bolger’s show though, and I could see this elevating her career should enough people see it. When the action kicks in, it’s done in a way that doesn’t stretch belief all that much, while Pastoll has some fun by making it a lot gorier than the premise would have you think, with body parts being thrown around and such. It’s a nice ghoulish touch that explains what it’s doing at a hard genre festival like Fantasia. Overall, this is one to keep an eye out for – it’s quite good.