Single mother Sandra (Clare Dunne) escapes her abusive partner with her two young children, only to find herself trapped in temporary accommodation. After months of struggling, she draws inspiration from one of her daughter’s bedtime stories and hits upon the idea of self-building an affordable home. She finds an architect who provides her with plans and is offered land by Peggy (Harriet Walter), a woman she cleans for. Aido (Conleth Hill), a building contractor, appears willing to help, too. But as her past rears its head in the form of Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson), her possessive ex, and as bureaucrats fight back against her independent spirit, will Sandra be able to rebuild her life from the ground up?
Clare Dunne was in New York when she dreamed up Herself. The Dublin actor had just signed with an agent in NYC and was auditioning for roles as part of pilot season. In the middle of her busy schedule, a close friend back home in Ireland — a single mother with three children — phoned her, explaining that she had to declare herself homeless. Her landlord was throwing her out in a month’s time, she explained, and while her parents were able to accommodate her, they only had a single room for her and the three children. Dunne, stunned by the news, found that she could not focus on her next audition.
“‘Here I am, in New York, trying to be discovered, while my friend is technically homeless’,” she thought to herself. “I remember feeling so angry and frustrated and thinking, ‘Everything about this situation is wrong.’ Mortgages and sky-high property prices are a mirage.” The situation played on her mind over the next few days. Then the idea hit her like a lightning bolt.
Herself is available on Amazon Prime Video on January 8th, 2021.