Written by: Julia Hart & Jordan Horowitz
Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Arinzé Kene, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Bill Heck, Frankie Faison
The gangster genre has shown the rise and fall of men trying to survive in the world of organized crime. For all the moments of success and praise, it will eventually go array, but the women in these stories typically receive barely any of the spotlight and more so just serve the role of a concerned wife. I’m Your Woman follows this similar story except it focuses on the wife character and how she has to react to everything happening with little to no knowledge provided. A daunting task for anyone, but the urgency and nimbleness of the film allows for this horrifying adventure to create an entertaining feature.
Living the life of a housewife, Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) goes about her days lounging around until her husband Eddie (Bill Heck) comes home with a baby. He gives her the baby to care for as they have tried and failed to have their own. An unexpected surprise that only gets further complicated when she learns of a deal gone wrong and must now evade men trying to kill her.
Jean has most likely lived her married life with Eddie with concerns about his dealings and how it would cause repercussions in her life. She knows he’s involved in shady dealings but does not fully comprehend the full extent of it, a method that effectively puts the audience right in the same perspective as her. The audience knows just as little about what Eddie does, the only thing we can piece together is, he’s involved in something shady and Jean must flee in order to protect herself and this baby. This fight for survival comes with its allies but continually holds the pressure down on this character, as the day she most likely feared for a considerable amount of time has arrived, and must react appropriately.
This situation would normally be stressful for anyone, but it gets ramped up even more with Jean’s sudden need to care for this child. With the process of pregnancy and adoption, the parents about to receive a child have plenty of time to mentally and physically prepare for the gauntlet of having a newborn. Jean does not receive this vital time and gets thrust into this responsibility. I’m Your Woman has every intention to demonstrate the difficulty she has with this newfound responsibility. Running for your life presents its own challenges, but having to do it with a newborn baby ratchets up the issues to a disturbing degree due to caring for more than your life and babies not being the stealthiest individuals around. Every moment where Jean finds herself in danger only gets more dangerous with the reality of the baby being in harm’s way as well.
Building up this tension is where this film really succeeds, as it continually puts Jean in situations where she narrowly escapes harm’s way but with each slim escape, the danger continues to escalate. The stressful situations continually build up, which only gets worse when she never quite receives answers to what Eddie did and why she needs to look over her shoulder at every turn. Similarly, the production design completely immerses us into the 1970s from the terrible interior design and the type of clubs people would frequent at the time. The costumes given to display Jean’s personality starts right from the beginning almost like an homage to its genre before fully unveiling the strong woman the story will soon follow throughout.
Rachel Brosnahan has proven she can carry a TV show on her shoulders and with I’m Your Woman, she shows she can also do it on the big screen. On an emotional level, she has to do the heavy lifting with the emotionally tense moments, especially the scenes where it’s just her and the baby. She carries so much fear in her eyes where she needs to display strength and ultimately establishes the huge weight on her shoulders to care for this child. A strong performance aided by her director, Julia Hart, who continues to shine as a director. After her contemplative superpowered film, Fast Color, she moves into the gangster genre seamlessly. She enjoys putting strong female protagonists in her story and centers their experience and struggle in a wholly unique manner. It allows for these stories to stand out within the very genres they identify within.
Filled with plenty of intrigue and stressful moments, I’m Your Woman displays the dangers of living adjacent to the gangster lifestyle. None of it comes easy for Jean as she gets pushed to her limits on more than one occasion through this wild set of days. The crying baby will ensure you think twice about having your own seeing as it pierces the ear in a way to question every decision you have made in life. A quick-paced thriller with plenty to enjoy and appreciate.