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I’m Your Woman Review: Rachel Brosnahan Is Marvelous As The Mrs Of A Criminal, In A Story We Rarely Get To See

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My faith in Rachel Brosnahan is rock solid, after Marvelous Mrs Maisel. If you tell me she is in something, and on top of that, producing the damn thing, I’mma watch it, no questions asked. But there was something else as well about Amazon Studios’ I’m Your Woman that drew me in. The Neo-noir crime drama set in the 1970s has Brosnahan playing the wife of a criminal who is absconding after killing his boss. And while usually the camera would drop the criminal’s family as collateral damage and stay focused on what happens to him, Julia Hart’s film decides to stick with the woman’s side of the story. That’s rare, methinks, and intriguing. Also written by Hart, I’m Your Woman starts Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Frankie Faison, and Bill Heck alongside Brosnahan.

The film’s opening shot is one of my favourite for it tells you exactly the kind of person Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) is. She’s clad in this loud, boisterous pink à la Brosnahan’s other alter ego, Midge Maisel. Only while Midge was the one behind the driving wheel of her life all the time, Jean has no idea how to run her life. You see her, staring out in some limbo state, smoking a cigarette and trying to measure how all her recent life choices were not her’s exactly. Even the outfit she’s wearing is something her husband chose for her, as she tries to get rid of the tags. She’s looking for scissors to take them out, but instead, her Eddie hands her a baby boy. As if he’s brought her a new toy, he tells her that the baby is hereon theirs.

Stunned (and Brosnahan’s face doing so much talking!), she accepts it without a question. Though it is only later that we understand why she reacts the way she did. In fact, a lot about who Jean is as a person is only revealed later. To her and to us.

The story is told without a concrete time stamp on when what happens. So you could assume that a few days after the arrival of the baby, Eddie disappears. His former associate Cal is helping Jean and the baby (she calls him Harry) reach to a safe house because people whom Eddie fucked over are hot on his and her trail. Jean instantly forms this bond with Cal, tells him things she’s probably never admitted to anyone, even herself. And when he’s gone, Jean’s left to fend for herself, something she has never done before.

Over the course of the next 1 hour 15 minutes, Jean navigates her husband’s karma, bad guys with guns, Cal and his truth, and the struggles of being a mother.

Also Read: A Call To Spy Review: Sarah Megan Thomas, Radhika Apte Film Is An Elegant, Very Real Portrayal Of Female WWII Spies

Rachel Brosnahan is Marvelous as the clueless Mrs grappling with the world she was on the brink of.

We don’t find out until much later what exactly it is that Eddie has done. We do know that Jean is aware he is a criminal of some kind. But what he is capable of of, or what is the world he lives in and who his foes and allies are, Jean has no clue about. From the looks of it, she never questions her husband about anything. And even when she does, she believes whatever he tells her. We get to know about Jean in sparse details perfectly scattered throughout the film. Like the fact that she can’t cook or take care of herself, or that her relationship with her husband might not exactly be based on love. We even know she has one of those very relatable misgivings about motherhood. She can’t have a baby but does she even want one? And just when she’s closed the door on it, she ends up with a baby outta nowhere.

Jean is exactly the kind of wife we’re used to seeing in movies about criminals. A superficial character, on the outskirts of the whole setup, and often dying or wasted as collateral damage when the war begins. Director Julia Hart makes Jean the protagonist here. Rachel Brosnahan is terrific as the shocked, confused and utterly clueless Jean. Her face and body language do a lot of talking. Look at her when she realises that canned peas can be delicious and you’ll know what I mean! Something as basic as how she holds her baby, or tries to work out whether her neighbour is a friend or spy for her enemies, can give you a clue about what she might be thinking.

 

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She’s having trouble with her baby, and she seems almost catatonic in how she deals with her situation. And yet, she seems to be managing fine enough, which might point to the latent strength of her character. She’s someone who is absolutely unprepared for what life could throw at her, but once she catches her breath, she’s got a cool and calm head on her shoulders, and she’ll figure it out.

I’m Your Woman poignantly tells the female perspective of a story that has almost always been about the men. But that’s not all it does.

Julia Hart’s writing is near perfect to me, and I love the way Jean’s written and shown on screen. But surprisingly, the film isn’t just about a wife being too protected from her husband’s criminal life and then suddenly thrust into it. Hart manages to embed themes of racial privilege through the stories of Cal and his wife, Teri, powered with engaging performances by both Arinzé Kene  and Marsha Stephanie Blake. With scenes like when Jean and Cal get questioned by a cop about sleeping in the car, we (and Jean) realise that she has been shielded from a lot of realties of her society.

 

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Eventually, learning from each and every person and situation she encounters on this short journey, she comes into her own, whether it is self-defence, making decisions that she’s never had to make before, or even reviving her ‘burnt’ maternal instincts. She’ll be driving her own car now, thanks!

A special mention for the production design, which aptly takes you back to the 70s. Oh and how can I forget the perfect songs embedded throughout the movie! The flowered wallpapers, pink telephones, cutesy diners and of course the radio blasting Aretha Franklin, it all came together to setup Jean’s world for me, and I was immersed instantly. PS: The babies are so darn cute!

The film’s runtime is another excellent decision. The story might seem to dawdle in some places, but at 2 hours, I thought it was pretty decent.

Verdict: Rachel Brosnahan, I’m Your Fan!

 

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Julia Hart has done a fantastic job of delivering a near-perfect specimen under the genre but giving it this rare spin without missing a beat. It gets the thrills right, the voice right, and the themes bang on. And it has performances from a good cast to back it up. I’m definitely going to watch out for more of her work. But I’m Your Woman for me is just Rachel Brosnahan killing it, once again. What a marvel this actor is. I’m Your Fan!

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