I’M YOUR WOMAN stars Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Marsha Stephanie Blake, and Arinzé Kene and is helmed by writer-director Julia Hart (Fast Color). In this 70s crime drama, Jean (Brosnahan) keeps mostly to herself since her husband is a professional criminal – the extent of his crimes she remains blissfully unaware of. One day a strange man comes to her home, claiming to work for Jean’s husband. A deal has gone sour, her husband’s enemies are coming for her, and, from here on, Jean and her infant son are on the run.
Truthfully, some films exist to be excellent vehicles for the star’s talent and that’s certainly the case with I’M YOUR WOMAN. Rachel Brosnahan is given the opportunity to step out of the comedic roles that made her famous and try on something sobering and dramatic. Brosnahan’s performance is one of subtleties and it’s exciting to watch her be so quietly commanding.
That stellar performance is absolutely required to pull off I’M YOUR WOMAN. To call the film a crime drama is not wholly accurate, though it does set our expectations of space and place in the film. The meat of I’M YOUR WOMAN is a story of Jean coming into her own agency and confidence. When we first meet the character, she’s a doll of a woman in a doll’s house. Pantomiming the role of a housewife, while not being fully capable. Jean is a terrible cook and is listless – she’s also incapable of having children, something she desperately wants.
Jean’s transformation of a character is also an exercise in subtle transitions. Her life changes the day that her husband walks through the door with a baby. A baby that was mysteriously procured but is instantly Jean’s. That baby represents the turning point in Jean’s life as she struggles to rise to the challenge of being a mother and, by further extension, starts to gain some independence. The catalyst of going on the run kicks off a chain of events in which Jean must learn to fend for herself, become capable and independent, and realize that she is stronger without her husband and can live a whole and safe life on her own.
Wrapped within the story of Jean’s belated coming into herself is a fierce narrative on a mother’s love. Jean’s desire to provide for her son and keep him safe, no matter what, is what drives her to accomplish everything else in the film. Further, it is her understanding of unconditional love and the need to care for her baby that allows her to recognize the sacrifice of others. The moments where the viewer really gets to see Jean grow in her independence are among the best in the film.
While Brosnahan’s performance and Jean’s story are incredibly strong, the film doesn’t have much else to support it beyond that. The 70s setting could offer so much more in terms of aesthetic and style, but it feels a tad muted. Further, not enough happens in the story to justify the film’s runtime but it’s worth it to get to those few strong moments.
My verdict: I’M YOUR WOMAN has some truly wonderful parts that don’t quite sum up into a wonderful whole. The script drags, but the time and details lead to some wonderful character work. The time period has so much promise and intrigue, but is rarely utilized. Honestly, it’s worth the watch for the chance to experience Rachel Brosnahan’s dramatic chops, even if it leaves much to be desired.
I’M YOUR WOMAN arrives on Prime Video on December 11, 2020.