It may be another year before award season returns, but sure-to-be-nominated films are already hitting theaters. Based on an exclusive clip, Saint Judy just might be one of those films. Before you go see this stirring drama, which arrives in theaters on March 1, watch as immigration attorney Judy Wood (played by Michelle Monaghan) takes a big step in the journey to fight for the rights of another woman in a court battle as timely as it is important.
Based on a true story, Saint Judy is a film tackling extremely modern issues. Wood is a working mother who moves to California to practice immigration law (in real life, Wood is still an immigration lawyer). When the case of Asefa (played by Leem Lubany), a woman persecuted by the Taliban for opening a school for young girls, lands on her desk, Wood knows she needs to jump into action and do whatever it takes to help her client. Although she gains the sympathy and respect of everyone involved in Asefa’s case, including the judge overseeing it (played by Alfre Woodard), the law ultimately isn’t on Asefa’s side. That’s when Wood’s real fight begins, as she struggles to change U.S. asylum law forever, not just for Asefa, but for all women.
Our exclusive clip features Monaghan, Common and Lubany in a perfect showcase of the performances they give in Saint Judy. It also sets the scene for the dramatic events to come. In the clip, Wood and Asefa meet with Benjamin Adebayo (played by Common) to discuss Asefa’s case. Benjamin and Wood talk about the change that Immigration and Naturalization Services went through after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when the agency became known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At one point, Benjamin sternly tells Wood and Asefa, “We’re a nation of immigrants, like Albert Einstein, like Fernando Valenzuela, like my father. They all come to the venue, some welcome, some not. Some didn’t even choose to come here. My job is to uphold the law.”
He makes these comments as he considers whether or not to release Asefa from detainment. It is ultimately his call, with the tension intensifying the moment another character enters and drops the relevant paperwork on Benjamin’s desk. This is potentially a big moment for Asefa as well as Wood, and the way the scene goes, you can already tell that Wood is gearing up for a major fight on behalf of her client.
Saint Judy couldn’t be a more timely, essential film to see. With undoubtedly knockout performances from Monaghan, Lubany and Common, you won’t want to miss this film. So if you’re still undecided, then re-watch the clip above, check out the trailer and then go see Saint Judy when it arrives in theaters on March 1.