Herself | Third Space


Mon 14 Jun 2021
Building hope in the aftermath of domestic violence

4 out of 5 stars

No one plans to be homeless, but circumstances can occur quickly in people's lives and they find themselves living on the streets. This is a situation that is seen all too regularly by those who experience spousal abuse. Phyllida Lloyd’s (Mamma Mia!) latest film delves into the life of the young mother, Sandra (Clare Dunne), during the season of life after she leaves her abusive husband with her two daughters by her side.

As a young mother of two rambunctious girls, she does all she can to work multiple jobs while trying to provide a bit of normalcy in her children’s lives. With her possessive ex-husband still hoping to have his family back and doing all he can to gain custody of the girls, Sarah hopes to escape this life. The inspiration eventually comes while she lays exhausted on her bed and hears a bedtime story from her eldest daughter. She does some investigation and discovers that she can affordably build a tiny home on her own to secure a piece of land.

As she desperately seeks out advice from architects and builders, the single mother gets offered a plot of land by one of her employers. This begins rallying people around her cause and getting the help she needs to build a home for her girls. As things get underway, obstacles start to form as she fights governmental bureaucracy and opposition from her ex-husband, Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson). Every day proves to be a battle to keep her jobs, maintain the girl's education and keep the government from halting her from building her family’s dream.

What differentiates Herself from other films that address this harsh reality of life is the believability that this could happen to anyone. Phyllida Lloyd’s subtle flair capitalises on the talents of Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter and this excellent cast to deliver a beautiful film that finds beginnings in the horrors of domestic abuse. Malcolm Campbell and Clare Dunne’s screenplay showcases the desperation of the single mother, while showing the hope that can come through a caring community.

By immersing the audience in this world of bureaucratic red tape, the mental anguish of a victim and the despair of living in government housing, the production team still shines a light on this desperate situation. This shows that suffering is an inevitability, but people must get up each day and press on towards potential solutions. Even though this story has the ‘one step forward and two steps back’ feel to it, there is always something that allows for belief in a better outcome. This is one of those movies worth seeking out as a means of inspiration and motivation to help those in greatest need within our community.

REEL DIALOGUE: What do we do when life seems to be falling apart around us?

John 9:2-5 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Even though it can be misunderstood at times, these words from Jesus do open the discussion on suffering. It is an example of God's mysterious ways and how some of life's difficulties can be a means of showing mercy and grace in people's lives.

Job, family and community issues are out of our control in many ways. Companies fail, people make bad choices and sometimes circumstances cannot be avoided. How does God help us during these times? The Bible offers the answers to these questions. Not with the elimination of difficulty and strife, but with the peace and strength that comes through a relationship with God.

This passage above merely opens the door to the conversation, if you would like to discuss more about this topic contact our team at City Bible Forum.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, get help today: Salvation Army

Other Bible passages on suffering: Romans 5:3-5, 1 Peter 5:10, Revelation 21:4

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