Phyllida Lloyd’s moving drama features a stunning performance by actor and co-writer Clare Dunne, as a woman escaping an abusive relationship.
Sandra (Dunne) has left her husband Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson) and taken her two children, Molly (Molly McCann) and Emma (Ruby Rose O’Hara), with her. Living in a hotel, she makes a living as a house cleaner. One of her clients is Peggy (Harriet Walter), who lives alone and owns a large house and a fair expanse of land. When she finds out that Sandra is attempting to build a place of her own, Peggy offers he a plot of her land. However, Gary wants Sandra back and is willing to use the girls in order to get his way.
Reminiscent of Raining Stones-era Ken Loach, Lloyd’s film sensitively grapples with domestic abuse, but keeping the focus firmly on Sandra and her girls. It challenges cliched portrayal of women who leave abusive relationships as women, instead presenting Sandra as an empowered individual, whose ingenuity, drive and resilience is directed to creating a better life for herself and her two girls. The result finds a pitch-perfect balance between human drama, social comedy and the serious treatment of an all-too-common situation.