A Good Woman Is hard to find review The Buff and The Blazer
The 2020 film, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, masters the art of the infamous character arc. However, what sets this film apart from most, is the grounded and realistic transformation of its central character Sarah (Sarah Bolger). While the character changes, she maintains certain character traits that keep her recognizable. Sarah Bolger’s inspired performance enhanced with effective storytelling techniques, make that possible.
Sarah Bolger is still somewhat unknown in the broader film community. Her performances on television have begun to turn many on to her skill and craft. Abner Pastoll’s, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find showcases Bolger’s range and versatility. The believability of her character’s transformation depends heavily on her performance. At the start of the film, we are introduced to Sarah without any dialogue. In many scenes like these, we can identify the character’s pain and suffering just from her subtle visual cues. A slight whimper, trembling, or even a cadence change of breathing, help to effectively convey what the character is feeling. All without words!
Once dialogue starts, Sarah’s performance is multifaceted. A tepidness and insecurity ring out in the way she delivers dialogue. We get the sense that the world around her is overwhelming and she is losing control. At the same time, she also exhibits a form of quiet determination. The character will go to any length for the well-being of her children. As Sarah’s story develops, we start to see a change. She becomes more confident and pushes her determination to the limit.
By the end of the film, it would have been easy to completely turn the character into an overly exaggerated/hardened figure. Many films transition characters with similar arcs to opposite ends of the spectrum. By the end of this film, Sarah is in a place where she is confident and not afraid to act. At the same time, those subtle qualities of her determination from the beginning, remain intact. She never comes across as foreign and remains familiar by the end.
The choices made by the filmmakers also helped to enhance the character. From the very beginning of the film, the director offers visual hints that tell us a little bit about who Sarah is. A grocery store clerk constantly harasses Sarah early on in the film. On her way out, she reluctantly takes a political flier. The film contrasts those moments at the end. The grocery store perpetrator who antagonizes her again, receives an unexpected rebuttal. Outside, Sarah brushes away a second offer of another flier outside.
Another simple but effective visual cue of Sarah’s transformation is her use of makeup. Before her turn, the character is seen with little to no makeup which changes as she becomes more confident. In the last two scenes, Sarah sports full makeup and takes events into her own hands. Ultimately, Sarah Bolger and the filmmakers have crafted a character that is fully human, believable, and well-developed.
A Good Woman Is Hard to Find is available on digital now!
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