For anyone whose only introduction to the exceptional actress that Rachel Brosnahan is some IMDb bio that says she plays a struggling stand-up comedian in the late 1950s in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you are missing out on pure perfection. So, to rectify your perception, start with setting your clock to Midge Maisel zone and binge on the three seasons of the show. But before that, you gotta let yourself trip on the noir criminal drama I’m Your Woman starring the talented star ‘cause boy, she can be one badass with a gun!
Typically crime dramas, particularly those that came out in the 70s, were (and mostly still are) stubbornly focused on crime lords, the heroic saviour, the underdogs in between. The only role their girlfriends, wives, or any other female family member plays is to be shock-element in the story– they are ruthlessly gunned down– or used to generate empathy for the man as being the poor sap who is gotta protect his family from the crime lord he willingly works for. Well, boo-hoo.
It has long been debated how this other part of the story plays out, how the women ensure the safety of her child, herself, and everyone else she cares for while the men are shooting around with their guns. Well, Julia Hart’s stellar I’m Your Woman provides an answer– they are scared (any sane human will be) but they go on for the sake of everyone they care for. When push comes to pull, they even put themselves on the line and amazingly save the day because hey, newsflash they are equally bold and in fact, stronger in the face of the adversity that comes knocking without warning.
And while you may say it’s because we have seen her playing the part of Mary, a mobster’s unknowing wife, no one could have done it justice the way Rachel Brosnahan does all the while dumping out the damsel-in-distress code that is normally the motto of such films.
From the get-go, it’s obvious that I’m Your Woman is sprung tight with little space to let viewers take those calming breaths along with the protagonist. The thriller, set in the 1970s, introduces us to a sad and alone housewife Jean (a dazzling Rachel Brosnahan) who lives mostly by herself as her husband, Eddie, who she thinks is a thief but is actually a mobster, stays out late. As she is unable to have kids, it is an additional woe she lives with until Eddie brings home a baby and tells her that it’s her’s from now. Chapter closed.
While she has a thousand questions, she agrees and falls into the maternal role she never thought she would get to play. This strange calm is only for a few days as suddenly Eddie tells her that he would be out later than usual but in the middle of the night, his partner wakes her up and she is forced to flee with the baby, while a former associate of Eddie, Cal (Arinzé Kene) helps her but refuses to explain the sudden chaos in her monotonous life.
But as her saviours barely stick around to help her out and after her last safe sanctuary is crudely snatched away, Jean has to shed her innocence, even her stoic hesitation to lie, and become something she never thought she was capable of.
Story-wise, I’m Your Woman is one gem that just joined the scarce list of good films in 2020 and acting-wise, it’s on a whole another level as Rachel Brosnahan adds a palpable gravity to every scene she is in while being absolutely mesmerizing.