HERSELF – A Review by John Strange

HERSELF – A Review by John Strange

Herself is about a woman who escapes an abusive relationship with her two young daughters.  Sandra (Clare Dunne) does whatever she has to do to support her children, including working multiple jobs and accepting public supported housing.

When she is inspired to find a way to build her dream house for the family, her major stumbling block is finding the money and land to make that dream come to life.  Well, that and her ex and his… desire… to see the family reunited. 

We watch as Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson), the abusive ex, does what he can to create conditions which he hopes might force Sandra to return to the fold with the kids.  We watch as conditions continue to deteriorate in her life.

Sandra has someone in her corner who proves that there is a way to reach the light of freedom, Peggy (Harriet Walter), a woman for whom she (and her mother before her) cleans house.  Together, the two ladies face the challenges that come their way.

Herself is not a movie meant for kids for so many reasons, like the scenes where Gary’s last attack on Sandra is replayed time and again.  Despite this, the film is actually an uplifting film that helps us see that abuse victims can find the light of freedom. 

Phyllida Lloyd, the film’s director, has given us a strong film.  This film is tough subject matter to watch, but it shows the story to us in-light-of a strong woman taken to the limits of her emotional stability.  We see the struggle as it affects her two young daughters and the people who care about all of them.

The acting talent in this film was a surprise, each an excellent fit for their character.  Some you love and others you find yourself hissing at.  This is a well-made film that I rate a good 4-star effort.  Not everyone will be able to sit through it but that is what they all need to do.  They’ll learn from it.  I did.


Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Cast: Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Ruby Rose O’Hara & Molly McCann

MPAA Rating: R (for language and some domestic violence)

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Runtime: 97 Min.

Trailer: HERSELF Trailer

Release Date:

December 30, 2020: Select Theaters (The Inwood Theater, The Fun Movie Grill Macarthur Marketplace Irving)

January 8, 2021: Amazon Prime Video


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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