Rachel Brosnahan ignites the screen as a woman in danger.
I’ve viewed “I’m Your Woman” as a virtual screening from the Chicago Film Festival, and I found it to be more thrilling than the Liam Neeson action movie “Honest Thief.” In fact, its leading star Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) really delivers the goods by portraying a young woman, who finds herself in a dangerous situation, and struggles to thrive on what’s going on. She’s the main attraction of the movie.
The story, written by fellow collaborators Julia Hart (the director) and Justin Horowitz (the producer), takes place in 1970s. Brosnahan co-produces and plays a young woman named Jean, whose thieving husband Eddie (Bill Heck) brings home a baby boy, and finds himself in big trouble. In the middle of the night, Jean and the baby, whom she names Harry have, to leave the house with her husband’s former employee Cal (Arinze Kene). All he knows that Eddie killed his boss, and bad men are coming after him and his wife. They don’t know where he is.
Among the few characters she comes across with, a nice new neighbor (Marceline Hugot) meets her at her safe house, and finds herself a victim of the villains. And when Cal takes her to his family’s cabin, his father (Frankie Faison) teaches Jean how to use a gun, and his wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake) has been through this situation before and was closer to Eddie than she thinks.
The criminals after Eddie and Jean (one of them portrayed by James McMenamin) are thinly written and underdeveloped, as if they were presented like the Prince in the animated “Cinderella.” But there are fresh moments, like when Jean and Teri have to go to a night club, and dodge gunmen attacking the building. That scene has has the real threats of an active shooting attacks, and every dangerous moment has you rooting for Jean to get out alive.
“I’m Your Woman” serves as a throwback to the best crime dramas of the 70s, not just because it’s set in that time period, but also because of how the screenplay gives the leading lady a mind and how it crafts pure emotions and real thrills. Brosnahan provides her challenges and vulnerabilities by committing to her character and rising to the occasion. Blake knocks it out of the park as her new friend, who shares the same qualities and difficulties as her. And Kene allows his character to have certain tone and personality, and I just admire how he doesn’t light his cigarettes, and just holds them instead. It keeps him relaxed.
We never get to see Eddie for the rest of the movie, but he probably gets what he deserves for putting his wife and kid in danger. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure he stole that baby, since his criminal record prevents him from adopting and Jean can’t have babies. It doesn’t end like “Widows” did, but this film is mostly about Jean and how she learns to overcome her adventures on the road.
Hart and Horowitz both guide Brosnahan on the right path, and even with some downfalls, she still manages to earn the star billing.
Streaming on https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com from now to October 25
Coming to Amazon Prime December 11