From The Handmaid’s Tale to Hereditary, the 65-year-old actor owns malevolence. She talks about her Oscar-tipped role as a school-shooter’s mother in Mass – and why men are more vulnerable than women

Many people don’t want to see Ann Dowd’s new movie. Even the most positive of its reviews from Sundance called it “excruciating”, “exhausting” and “tortuous”; an endurance test some will not be willing to endure. Including Dowd herself, who has yet to watch it.

“We’ve talked about it a lot, the cast, and we have different points of view,” Dowd says to me over coffee in Chelsea, New York, conscious that Mass is a tough sell. “When people ask me, I say this film has tremendous hope and that it has to do with healing and forgiveness. I don’t give the specifics.”

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