I’M YOUR WOMAN is not your typical 1970’s crime drama
I'M YOUR WOMAN (2020)
Julia Hart’s fourth directorial feature film had me intrigued. A crime drama set in the 1970s always sounds like a good idea. Plus I was eager to see Rachel Brosnahan shed her Mrs. Maisel persona and do something a bit more gritty; it’s safe to say I was very eager to see I’m Your Woman.
Julia Hart has had a few hits and a few misses in her career, and I would call this one a hit. She leaves the 1970s out of it style-wise except for the essentials: the cars, rotary phones, etc. The decade isn’t the story here, it's just the backdrop. She does an excellent job of giving you information bit by bit and utilizes keeping the audience in the dark well. At the beginning it seems the movie might be more of a romanticized thriller, but it quickly sheds that persona and becomes something else entirely. Hart doesn’t spend time on frivolous details and each shot and scene has a specific purpose. Not a single second of the two hour runtime is wasted. Hart manages to keep you guessing, and when she finally gives you some information the pace speeds up. Hart crafts an exceptionally intriguing film with I’m Your Woman.
The beginning of the movie thrusts you into uncertainty. Eddie (Bill Heck) brings home a baby for his wife Jean (Rachel Brosnahan). He informs her that this is their baby now, with literally zero explanation of how he came across this baby or why he is bringing it to Jean. Then the plot gets going when Eddie doesn’t come home one night. Jean is woken up, told very little information, and picked up by a man named Cal (Arinzé Kene). Jean is told frustratingly little but goes along as Cal takes her to a motel and then a safe house. There are men after her because of something Eddie did, but no one seems to know what happened exactly. The “villains” of the movie are nothing more than men with guns who don’t get much of an identity or much screen time. After several close encounters with these men, Cal brings Jean to his childhood home in the woods. Here she is joined by Cal’s no-nonsense wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), Cal’s father Art (Frankie Faison), and Cal’s son Paul (De’Mauri Parks). The third act is a wild ride as Teri and Jean band together when Cal goes missing to discover what happened. The guessing game of what is actually happening will keep you hooked, and when the truth is revealed you’ll be waiting with bated breath to see how it ends.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Rachel Brosnahan has the most screen time, appearing in almost every single scene. Unsurprisingly, she is up to the task of carrying an entire movie. Brosnahan’s character, Jean, has a compelling story arc. She goes from an in the dark housewife to a take charge run the show type of woman. Throughout the movie you witness her character’s growth as she discovers she can lie easily and begins making decisions about her own life. Arinzé Kene’s performance was also noteworthy, as he plays the stoic and mysterious Cal to precision. However, my favorite character was Teri, played by Marsha Stephanie Blake. Blake’s performance was quiet but intensely powerful. Watching Teri and Jean come to understand each other and then work together to find answers was the highlight of the movie.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Being set in the 1970s, I expected the design of the movie to be immersive and a complete throwback. You definitely feel that you’re in the ‘70s but not in the way I had expected. The cars and the clothes definitely match the time period but not a lot of time is spent on those details. It becomes the background of the movie and isn’t a huge stylistic aspect. There were some car chases and accidents that were very believable and well done, but nothing groundbreaking was attempted. These elements added to the overall feel of the movie but didn’t do anything to really stand out, which is perhaps what Hart had intended as the focus is more on the character arcs.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Aska Matsumiya’s score is perfectly eerie for the tone of the movie. The ominous music cues you when something wild is coming. The music is more important than it usually is because the movie alternates between incredibly quiet scenes of Jean alone with her baby and then action packed scenes where she is being chased by the men who are hunting her down. During the quiet moments the score weaves together with the images beautifully. During the action sequences the music amps everything up to another level.
I’m Your Woman is not your typical 1970s crime drama. Writer and director Julia Hart has crafted a story that defies expectations and allows for the main character to grow into a strong and capable woman. Using ploys of omitting information and keeping the audience guessing works well to captivate the imagination and keep your eyes glued to the screen as the story unfolds. Excellent performances from Brosnahan, Kene, and Blake make the characters intriguing and multi-dimensional. I’m Your Woman has all the ingredients necessary for an entertaining film.
I'M YOUR WOMAN will release on PRIME VIDEO - December 11th, 2020