Take the suspenseful thrills of Sleeping with the Enemy and the inspirational character-building of Life as a House and add a twist of Irish spirit and you have a blueprint of sorts for the film Herself that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation. The enthusiastic applause continued as director Phyllida Lloyd, actress and co-writer Clare Dunne, producer Sharon Horgan, and actress Harriet Walter walked out on stage for the Q&A.
Herself tackles two timely social issues, domestic violence and the housing crisis, both of which are as prevalent in Ireland as the rest of the world. It’s also a “feel-good” film that champions the resilience of women and the human capacity to rebuild.
The story revolves around a woman who escapes her abusive husband and instead of waiting to get public housing in Dublin, she resolves to build her own cheap house just like she saw advertised on a DIY website.
Phyllida Lloyd returns to film after directing an All-Female Shakespeare trilogy on stage. Known for directing the box office hit film adaptation of the musical Mamma Mia! and Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Lloyd was the perfect choice to direct this female-centric film which is co-written by theater actress Clare Dunne making her cinematic debut and produced by Sharon Horgan, creator and star of the TV series Catastrophe.
Don’t be surprised if this film gets an acquisition deal very soon or if it wins an audience award at the end of the festival. I know that I voted for it.