I'm Your Woman

 

starstarstarstar

 

 

A sleek, surprising and wholly absorbing crime thriller confirms Rachel Brosnahan as our 

kind of woman.


I'm Your Woman

Baby blues: Rachel Brosnahan with Master Charles

  

Jean is a bored suburban housewife with all the trappings of material wealth. She smokes too much and her catchphrase is “I’m a terrible cook.” She has an uneasy liaison with eggs and her own eggs have let her down. She would love a baby. Then, one day, her husband turns up with a baby boy, which he dumps on her with disarming smugness. To say that Jean is unprepared for this new life change is understating the fact. But what follows soon afterwards is as bewildering to us as it is to Jean. Unlike so many crime thrillers before it, I’m Your Woman strides to the beat of its own drum. There is no voice-over, no captions and barely a whisper of exposition. Jean is alone in her world of luxurious furnishings and floats in an anaesthetised, well-appointed vacuum. That is, until the waste matter hits the fan…

 

Initially, nothing seems to make sense. But that is the point. We are seeing events unfold through Jean’s eyes – whoever she may be. We could be anywhere in North America at any time. And it would be to the viewer’s advantage to know as little going in as this critic did. The fun is catching up with the action.

 

Unlike so many crime thrillers before it, I’m Your Woman is not stylised, nor whacky, nor gratuitously violent. When Jean is handed a baby that is not her own, one immediately thinks of Raising Arizona – but that is a different film. Should a woman have decided to direct a crime thriller, this may well have been the result. And so it turns out, with Julia Hart steering the wheel from a screenplay she co-scripted with her husband, Jordan Horowitz. Horowitz also takes a producing credit, alongside the actress Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Jean. Initially displaying all the mortality of a waxwork, Brosnahan’s Jean gradually evolves into something ballsier, just as the juices of motherhood start to flow. And her co-star, the twins Jameson and Justin Charles, never miss a trick – their comic timing is faultless.

 

As Cal, the male adult on-board, an appropriately enigmatic Arinzé Kene injects surprising humanity into his cold-blooded hitman. Cal also exhibits greater parenting skills than Jean, which gives her a glimpse into the history of the uncommunicative man at her side. Arinzé Kene’s own history includes playing Connor Stanley in EastEnders, before he ended up co-scripting the spin-off soap EastEnders: E20. He also played Sam Cooke in the Donmar Warehouse production of One Night in Miami… There are several moments of human kindness here, too, that are shoe-horned into the proceedings at unexpected moments, further positioning the viewer onto the back foot. Ultimately, one brings as much to the film as it gives back, resulting in a collaborative effort that is as rewarding as it is absorbing. And Brosnahan, who found fame on the small screen in House of Cards and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is, well, our kind of woman.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, James McMenamin, Marceline Hugot, Frankie Faison, Bill Heck, Jameson Charles, Justin Charles, Da'mauri Parks, James McMenamin, Jarrod DiGiorgi, Nathan Hollabaugh, Lynda Marnoni.

 

Dir Julia Hart, Pro Rachel Brosnahan and Jordan Horowitz, Screenplay Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz, Ph Bryce Fortner, Pro Des Gae S. Buckley, Ed Tracey Wadmore-Smith and Shayar Bansali, Music Aska Matsumiya, Costumes Natalie O'Brien, Dialect coach Penny Dyer.

 

Original Headquarters/Big Indie Pictures/Scrap Paper Pictures-Artificial Eye.

120 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 11 December 2020. Available on Amazon Prime. Cert. 15.