We’ve all thirsted the sweet taste of dignified vengeance at one point in our everyday mundane lives. Either if it’s fictionally depicted on the silver screen, or simply demonstrated on a news broadcast; whenever we see vigilante justice in our mainstream media, we usually side with the perpetrator, or better known as the “anti-hero” in these very cases. Of course, like any average civilian, we wouldn’t even dare to ponder a scheme of any type of criminal caliber. However, in the case of young mother Sarah and her two children, their seemingly perfect life is turned upside down when her husband is murdered. In Abner Pastoll’s A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, we follow the harrowing journey of Sarah and her family, into a path of ill-intended murder, deception, and of course; vengeance.
Just like any good vengeance fable, in a similar vein to Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the greatest upside to this tale of mutilation and familiar bonds is the strength of it’s lead heroine. Sarah is an extraordinarily simple character; a confused widower consumed by reprehensible grief, who desperately searches for answers for the cause of her husband’s sudden demise. The premise alone is ambiguously grim, and without the fantastic work of lead actress Sarah Bogler, the consistent tone and narrative pace wouldn’t have worked without her nuanced performance. Each emotion and facial expression is delivered with pure angst and determination, while also remaining consistently subtle with film’s ghastly subject matter.
Yet the rest of Pastoll’s ambitious vision ultimately falls flat. With a grammar obsessed antagonist, some terrible child actors, a plethora of drone shots, and some seemingly awkward dialogue, it’s hard to even really say if this film was supposed to be taken 100% seriously, or if there’s some type of ominous campy tone behind each wound and bloody stab. The final minutes of A Good Woman Is Hard To Find just feel cut and paste, with barely any artistic flare nor merit. It’s fun entertainment mind you, but it’s entertainment that feels more suited to be compared to the likings of cotton candy; redundant fluff.
Even with a bad-ass lead performance and a genuinely strong set-up, the end result of A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is one that dies alongside with each brutal fatality. Even more disappointingly to add, the film neither has flavor nor any awareness of its own identity. It’s a film that solely exists for the main purpose of light, breezy entertainment. Vengeance has never been so average.
A Good Woman Is Hard To Find screened at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival. The film will re-screen again on Tuesday July 23rd, at 12:00 PM in Salle J.A. De Sève. The official World Premiere for the film, will be at this year’s 2019 London Frightfest Film Festival.