“I just thought you should be prepared for what comes next.”
“What comes next?”
The 1970s, a time filled with explosive crime dramas and gritty anti-heroes. With films like Dirty Harry and Serpico, these were the stories that set audiences on edge with rugged fight scenes in a cloud of smoke and up-tempo music. However, many of these films were driven men and only men. I’m Your Woman takes a different approach — this time —with women leading the charge.
The film begins with Jean’s (Rachel Brosnahan) narration of a quiet lifestyle as a stay-at-home wife doing her typical, dutiful, housewife chores. Her husband Eddie (Bill Heck), she knows, is a low-level criminal — with the planning for these crimes taking place behind closed doors of their quant suburban home. But one evening, Jean is jolted from her slumber to a vicious pounding at her front door. Eddie has gone missing. A man fills up a bag of money and clothes and tells Jean that her and her baby are no longer safe in the home. The man instructs Jean to leave with Cal (Arinzé Kene) — her new bodyguard. Cal, Jean, and the baby, drive to a safehouse, where she’ll now live under an alias. However, things don’t remain so simple for Jean, as that evening would only be the beginning of her troubles.
Rachel Brosnahan is most known for her titular role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a cute comedy filled with laughs and humble beginnings. However, if you recall only a few years back, Brosnahan played Rachel Posner in House of Cards — a formidable character whose independence and savviness help her to flee a terrible situation. Those same fierce qualities are on full display in I’m Your Woman, and shows Brosnahan at her best. Jean is an intriguing character, thrust into a life-altering situation. Especially, when her husband didn’t even like her driving by herself; it’s an evident shock to her system. Jean and her baby soon cross paths with Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), Cal’s wife, and their small family. Teri has had her fair share of survival situations. She’s a helpful guide to Jean’s lost sheep, and Teri helps Jean come to grips with the reality they’re in. Blake’s performance adds a deeper level to the film as Teri’s life hasn’t been anywhere near comfortable, but she perseveres through it because she loves Cal. It’s Jean and Teri, together, fighting their way through the crime ring, seeking answers to what happened to Eddie.
Julia Hart takes her place behind the camera, directing a screenplay she wrote alongside her husband, Jordan Horowitz. Hart brings that female strength to a film that only a woman could direct. She paints both Jean and Teri as these tough women, but neither of them lose their femineity in the process. Thus, leaving behind that trope in which women must become more “manly” in order to become stronger.
I’m Your Woman often reminds me of Steve McQueen’s, Widows. The idea of women picking up the pieces of their husbands’ irresponsible crimes are the foundations in both films. And although Widows is overwhelmingly darker, I’m Your Woman is not far behind. The only problems that this film faces is pacing. Towards the middle of the film, it tends to become stagnant — leaving you wanting the characters to hurriedly move forward to more crucial moments.
I’m You Woman is not without its flaws, but it’s easily one of the most riveting films of the year. With two great actress as Brosnahan and Blake taking on these complex characters, it’s a refreshing film. As a woman, I felt empowered watching these two on screen — wanting to sit back and watch it again, thinking, “Excuse me, sir. The women will take it from here.”
I’m Your Woman
Directed by: Julia Hart
Written by: Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz
Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, and Arinzé Kene