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Review: Herself

Herself is an Irish drama brought to you by Phyllida Lloyd, the director of Mamma Mia, but don’t let that fool you, there’s no bouncy Abba numbers in this gritty but fantastic tale.

Struggling to provide her daughters with a safe, happy home, Sandra decides to build one – from scratch. Using all her ingenuity to make her ambitious dream a reality, Sandra draws together a community to lend a helping hand to build her house and ultimately recover her own sense of self.

In a film that takes you from Harrowing to heartfelt, it’s a tour de force for your emotions from the outset. Herself doesn’t pull any punches and portrays everyday life for what will be a large number of single parents just trying to get by as the system holds them back. But the simplicity of Herself is the breaking free of the shackles holding back and you will either be punching the air or reaching for the tissues as your journey along with this wonderful story.

The cast in particular are mesmerising. The young cast in a brilliantly precocious as they help and hinder Sandra realise their dream. Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia, The Iron Lady) brings us yet another brilliant piece of cinema that simply deserves to be seen. The tempo of the film jolts with the emotion of Sandra as she continues her journey to freedom, not only from her abusive past but from the system that tries to hold her back. Clare Dunne in the title role is simply astounding. She’s so good that at times you would could forgive yourself for thinking you were watching a real life documentary. She simply inhabits the role of Sandra as if she was Sandra.

Simply put Herself is one of the must watch movies of 2020. While at times it is a hard watch, you simply will get caught up in rooting for Sandra and her family and new found friends. And you will be rewarded for the experience even if at times you’ll have to endure the pain to reach the pinnacle of this simply wonderful movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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