2020 | Drama | 97 minutes | English


Sandra, a mother with two young daughters living in Ireland, is beaten frequently by her abusive husband Gary. Divorcing her husband, Sandra gets little housing help from the city agencies and ends up living in a drab motel. While reading a bedtime story to her daughters, Sandra gets an idea to build her own home. This fa-fetched idea becomes doable when Peggy, whose home Sandra cleans, offers her a piece of her property. Sandra is able to convince Aido, a good-hearted contractor to help and many of the neighbors come by and pitch in. The home is finally completed and everyone celebrates. But hovering above all this is Sandra’s villainous ex-husband.  

Clare Dunne (Sandra) / Harriet Walter (Peggy) / Ian Lloyd Anderson (Gary) / Conleth Hill (Aido)
Why Stream This Film?
How can you not cheer this strong-willed mother, with two young daughters, enduring a marriage with an abusive husband, who is determined to survive? The lesson learned from this film is quite simple: “Never give up!”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 92%
  • Metacritic Score: 71
  • Dublin International Film Festival: Winner, Best Director (Phyllida Lloyd); Best Actress (Clare Dunne)
  • British Independent Film Awards: Nominated, Best Actress (Clare Dunne)

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Director Phyllida Lloyd is not afraid of reaching for big emotions, utilizing inspirational needle-drops and montages that show the house coming into existence. But there’s something else going on here, something that makes all of this a deeper and more powerful story. Part of it is about teamwork: this is not a professional construction crew and nobody knows what they’re doing. But they figure it out. With this, comes intense pleasure of building something with your own hands, of doing something nobody thinks you can do, or nobody wants you to do.
Sheila O'Malley


HERSELF is head-and-shoulders the strongest of the 20 Sundance films I’ve seen so far. It’s a timely, empowering story about a battered wife who builds her own house and the decent folks who come to her aid in that endeavor.
Peter Debruge


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