Review by Sean Boelman
Pairing one of the most exciting new filmmakers in Hollywood today with an acclaimed actress waiting to make her transition from the small screen, the crime thriller I’m Your Woman may be the big break that both of them need. Satisfyingly intense and stylish as hell, this is the type of mature yet genuinely fun movie that isn’t seen nearly enough these days.
The film follows a young mother who is forced to go on the run with her child after her criminal husband crosses the wrong people. It’s a very simple story, but writers Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz take these familiar beats to craft an homage to the classics of the genre while doubling down on the character development that allows it to stand out.
Perhaps the single most effective aspect of this movie is the way in which it emphasizes the emotional journey of the protagonist. A big part of the film’s success is the way in which it allows the viewer to understand her feeling of alienation and disorientation as her life is upended, but not in a totally unexpected way.
Rachel Brosnahan really proves that she is a star with her excellent performance. She’s already received awards for her star-making role in the series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but in this movie, she shows that she has the range to carry darker and grittier fare as well. Arinzé Kine is also a standout as the mysterious and quiet companion of Brosnahan’s character.
That said, the film does face some pacing issues. Right at two hours long, there’s some fluff here that likely could have been cut, but the movie never feels boring, nor does it lose sight of the narrative momentum it establishes early on. And for a film that is so heavily based in emotion, there is one action sequence that feels a bit out-of-place.
Additionally, the movie is a bit hollow in its messaging. Obviously there are messages here about family and betrayal, but nothing that is particularly new. Still, the female-led perspective in a typically male-dominated genre is welcome and refreshing, and even if it doesn’t say anything particularly profound, it’s a hoot regardless.
The film also stands out because of its wonderful visual style. Hart is really trying to emulate the pulpy crime movies of the 1970s, and she has the details down to a tee. Beautiful costume design from Natalie O’Brien does a lot of the heavy lifting in a way that is subtly immersive and even more impressive than flashier recreations.
I’m Your Woman is a pleasantly surprising showcase for its director and actors’ talent. It’s fulfilling in many ways, but one thing that it will leave viewers wanting is even more great work from Julia Hart and Rachel Brosnahan.
I’m Your Woman debuted at the 2020 AFI Fest which runs virtually October 15-22.
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