I'm Your Woman (3 stars)

I'm Your Woman

TV star Rachel Brosnahan bags a lead film role in Julia Hart's female-fronted gangster film

A collaboration between the writer-director of leftfield superhero flick Fast Color, Julia Hart, and the 'Marvelous Mrs Maisel' herself, the double Golden Globe-winning actress Rachel Brosnahan, I'm Your Woman is undoubtedly enticing. This 70s-set crime drama ignores the scheming of violent men, asking us to instead step into the bewildered shoes of a naïve trophy wife and unexpected new mother, caught in the fallout from her husband's actions.

Brosnahan's Jean is introduced as a lady of leisure, lounging in a hot pink fluffy robe in the garden of her dream home. But she can't relax; a price tag that scratches at her skin is an early sign that all is not right in her life. Jean can't have kids and isn't permitted to do much, so she spends her days alone, while her mobster husband Eddie (Bill Heck) does his mysterious thing.

When Eddie arrives home one day with a baby he's procured for her, Jean is understandably taken aback. And she has precious little time to get used to motherhood before her spouse disappears. In the interests of their safety, her and baby Harry are spirited away in the night by an associate of Eddie's she hasn't met before, Cal (Arinzé Kene). Later, we meet Cal's wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), who is capable and clued up, in stark contrast to Jean.

I'm Your Woman is stylishly shot by Bryce Fortner (Ingrid Goes West), who adopts a soft, retro aesthetic which complements the era and switches between roving and probing as required, while production designer Gae S Buckley shows a smart eye for period detail. If it looks perfectly polished, there are stumbles in the script, co-written by Hart's husband Jordan Horowitz (the producer of La La Land, best known for handing back that Oscar); its dialogue can be frustratingly gnomic, while the story doesn't feel fully formed.

Jean's displacement and the continuing threat to her and her new son's lives should be edge-of-your-seat stuff, yet it's rarely intense enough. Instead, Jean remains in spaced-out, sleep-deprived mode, which you could say makes sense given her circumstances, but it doesn't make much of the parenting challenges either. And with our protagonist unaware of what's really going on with her husband – who, it turns out, is stirring up a hornets' nest of trouble – she's operating at an even further remove, leaving the impression that most of the exciting stuff is happening offscreen.

Nevertheless, Brosnahan is a compelling screen presence and, as she steps up for her son, Jean's evolution into someone who can be trusted to pull the trigger doesn't feel forced, or cheesy. It is also absolutely a worthy endeavour to explore the life experience of the type of character rarely considered worth fleshing out in male dominated and directed crime flicks – Hart has said she was inspired by the moment the door closes on Diane Keaton in The Godfather. And there are some touching, tender scenes which communicate Jean's growing love for Harry (played, for the most part, by Jameson and Justin Charles), who is a charming child indeed. I'm Your Woman might not always be the most satisfying watch but there is, at least, plenty to admire.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from Fri 11 Dec.

I'm Your Woman

  • 3 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 2h
  • 15
  • Directed by: Julia Hart
  • Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene

Seventies-set crime drama about a woman who has to go on the run with a baby after her husband betrays his partners.