One of my favorite things to do is to cook and entertain. Especially for friends, family and anyone I happen to be dating at the time. After making an especially hearty meal for a guy I was involved with, I made a quirky comment about something he said. The look on his face went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in seconds. It instantly made my blood run cold and felt the need to diffuse in my favor. So, against my better judgement, inquired if he had ever been in a relationship with someone who might hit him. He posed the same question to me. Without hesitation, “No…because if ANY man ever contemplated putting his hands on me one of us would be dead. I promise you it WON’T be me.” Needless to say, he never laid a hand on me and we parted ways soon after.
Sandra (Clare Dunne) is a nice Irish girl working her fingers to the bone for the well-being of herself and her daughters. However, being in an abusive relationship with Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson) is taking its toll mentally and physically. After leaving him and realizing that sneaking to stay in hotels and airport parking lots provides a less than stable life for the her children, she finally takes control for the first time by making plans to build a house for the family. Wrangling a bunch of strangers to volunteer for the task, Sandra discovers a newfound strength and tenacity that she didn’t know she possessed.
Watching this mother desperately trying to make a life for her kids free of stress and the freedom to grow up, reminded me of how strong Mommy was after divorcing my Dad. What it must’ve taken for her to study, graduate and become a Registered Nurse while caring for two kids. I can’t imagine how many nights she didn’t sleep wondering how we were going to survive from one day to the next.
Clare Dunne is spectacular and completely envelopes the pain, anguish, frustration and unconditional motherly love bringing Sandra to life as a fully formed human being. As producer, director and star she juggles all with grace and ease leaving us with a film with grit, heart and all too stark reality of what a battered women endures physically, mentally and emotionally. In tandem with the film’s release, Amazon Studios partnered with Habitat for Humanity to ensure 3 families can build and move into their own safe and affordable homes. Herself, will inspire and remind any battered or bruised individual anyone can rise from the ashes of abuse with support and the will to rise up.