Herself (2020) Review

When Sandra must do all she can to escape the abusive relationship with Gary the father of their two daughters Molly and Emma, she will stop at nothing to protect them and attempt to get a house for them to live in.


Getting out of an abusive relationship is never the easiest of decisions for a woman to make, and being stuck with the situation of the broken housing system which means then having a place to live is not given to you. Currently living in a hotel after looking at a few different places that were truly horrendous and expensive. Sandra costs up what it would take to build a brand new house and the woman she works for Peggy gives her land at the bottom of the garden, allowing her to have a house built there.

Trying to then find builders who will not charge her loads of money out of the predicted amount seemed near impossible until she met Aido Deveney at a hardware shop one day and he takes pity on her and a group of volunteers pitch in to help. However keeping this a secret from Gary was always going to be difficult. Especially trying to keep the girls safe, when Molly no longer wanted to go and stay with her father.

Herself has a full on Ken Loach feel and I could not help but compare aspects of this film to I, Daniel Blake. It was just a slightly different look at how someone can be cheated by a system and not given the help they truly needed. For Sandra the abuse she suffered is shown in flashback form and it is very clear she is suffering from PTSD with the hitting and stamping on her wrist, the damage from which is very painful for her.

So many moments will well and truly break your heart and just when you believe it is getting better it gets so much worse, but even with that event you somehow manage to feel hope. The court scene was certainly one of the most frustrating ones as it looked as though Gary was going to get away with being so evil and abusive, but the way Sandra stands up for herself was great to see unfold. Pretty impossible to to cry or at the very least feel yourself filling up as you wonder just when things will begin to get better for this struggling young family.

Clare Dunne was good enough in the leading role and also co-wrote the story for the film, she was willing to put this tough to tell story on screen and hopefully it will help women out who find themselves in this type of situation. Molly McCann and Ruby Rose O’Hara were very good as Molly and Emma giving such innocence to it all. Ian Lloyd Anderson obviously was a horrible character and he managed a performance to make that truly believable. Conleth Hill and Harriet Walter in the supporting roles offered very good support for Dunne.

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