FrightFest 2019: A Good Woman is Hard to Find
Director: Abner Pastoll
Writer: Ronan Blaney
Starring: Sarah Bolger
A recently widowed young mother will go to any lengths to protect her children as she seeks the truth behind her husband's murder. Initial Reactions C. Now, the first half of A Good Woman is Hard to Find for me had potential for a stronger entry into the “person ventures into the criminal underworld to get revenge.” By having this widow form an uneasy partnership with a drug dealer, while both use each other for their personals, it offered an interesting moral dilemma for the protagonist. Have we seen it before? Sure but it was a strong dynamic. However, the movie becomes a paint-by-numbers plot for these type of movies and you’ll be able to predict every twist and turn. It also has the whole cold-blooded killers that have weird quirks thing, which has been going on for years but Tarantino made famous but that type of dark humor surprisingly doesn’t hit, because this isn’t the type of movie for it. What does set it apart is the performance by Sarah Bolger as the lead, Sarah. Bolger carries the movie with ease as a woman with such sorrow but must stay composed for her children. Credit is due to Pastoll for not falling into the cliche (or trap) with all the sexual content as at no point does it feel like the character of Sarah is sexualized for the audience. In fact there is constant remark of her “tired” look throughout. Of course when things go well she has more makeup and her hair is done so I guess you can’t escape it fully for this subgenre. Overall it’s exactly what you’d expect but if Bolger doesn’t get some big work after this then there’s something wrong with the industry. J. Let me first point out that the title is fucking awesome and suggests some 70’s exploitation type of shit is gonna go down. And to a certain degree it does I suppose. The violence in the film is over the top sometimes while others, not so much. There’s some hammer trauma that the camera shies away from on more than one occasion, which is too bad for me, maybe not others. I thought a lot of it was humorous and I’m not sure that was the intention but it wasn’t a bad thing. I’m talking in particular about some of the violence when I mention this. Sick sense of humor folks will agree with me, I think. As Craig mentions the character of Sarah is forced to form an allegiance with a douchy, drug dealing, thieving asshole guy with the worst haircut I’ve ever seen and I thought all of that stuff made for an interesting dynamic. They both help one another out and form an awkward, if not successful partnership. Things kind of get less interesting after that allegiance comes to an end however. I’m also not sure why the story starts at the hour mark of the narrative only to “flashback” to how we got to that point. Fellow writers, whether in film or novel form, know that this isn’t a good idea for various reasons. This isn’t the first thing to use the device but I find that most often, you don’t need to do it and I think that logic applies here. I also agree that Sarah Bolger does a great job of carrying the film as she’s virtually in every scene. Sarah doesn’t necessarily become The Punisher but she would probably consider a date with Frank Castle after her ordeal in this film. K. Alright, this is definitely one of the better Fright Fest films we’ve reviewed. It starts strong with an interesting setup of the recently widowed mother, Sarah, and her kids, who are struggling to get by. Meanwhile a scumbag named Tito rips off the local mob and ends up forcing the mother to stash the drugs for him while he deals, cutting her in as a partner. The tension between these two characters is incredibly effective. Unfortunately, once things boil over and the partnership ends, the narrative takes a more conventional turn with the mob closing in and Sarah discovering they are the ones responsible for her husband’s death. The performances are solid all around, particularly Sarah Bolger and Andrew Simpson stand out. The direction is on point and the writing is peppered with fantastically original moments (two scenes in particular involving a dildo), but then weighed down by some more cliched choices, especially the mob characters. Overall, it’s very well made and worth a watch, but it feels like it squandered the potential of being something much more original than it turned out to be.
Response C. For me, this is something that would stay on my Netflix queue for years and maybe I’d watch the first 10 minutes several times. That’s not saying it isn’t good, it just turns into exactly what you’d expect from reading the synopsis. You’re left with a movie that doesn’t have the filmmaker’s unique voice but rather a series of lines and plot devices that have been copy and pasted from other films. But I cannot stress enough that Bolger really shines and she definitely deserves solid work after this performance. Her portrayal of a woman having to bottle all her emotions for the sake of her children is devastating with so much subtlety. I have to repeat what Kyle stated, the first dildo scene had every opportunity to turn into a sexualization of Sarah but becomes this painfully awkward sequence that you just want to end. Her performance, along with Andrew Simpson’s is why I'd ultimately check out A Good Woman is Hard to Find on my queue and then I’d want to see what else they’ve done. J. This movie did a great job of playing with audience expectations… in a handful of places. You’ll see exactly what I mean after Sarah gets drunk to celebrate something and you think you know exactly where the story is going to go but no! Tricked you motherfuckers and does something completely unexpected. Eventually, the movie totally stopped doing that and just played out exactly how the audience would imagine it would or should. Especially when Sarah gets to the end and starts taking on the bad guys, there’s just nothing there that you haven’t seen before and maybe even done in the same manner. I really liked this one a lot up to about the 45 minute mark and then I sort of thought it was okay for the remainder of the runtime. K. I have to agree with Craig here. The performances are really the main attraction when it comes to this one. Sarah Bolger and Andrew Simpson steal the show. It almost would’ve been better just as a two-hander between the pair. Ultimately, there were just a lot more interesting directions they could’ve taken this story, perhaps somewhere new, but instead a predictable plot reared its ugly head. Bloodhound’s average score: 3 out of 5