I’m Your Woman (2020) ☆☆☆(3/4): She is on her own now – with a baby

“I’m Your Woman”, which was released on Amazon Prime a few weeks ago, is an interesting genre variation to be savored for a number of good reasons. The movie may not surprise you much on the whole as dryly and leisurely moving from one expected narrative point to another, but it slowly comes to engage you via its gradual character development coupled with several tense moments full of unnerving uncertainty, and the overall result is an engaging mix between character study and noir thriller.

Rachel Rosnahan, who has been mainly known for her Emmy-winning performance in Amazon Prime period comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, plays Jean, a young housewife who has lived alone with her shady husband Eddie (Bill Heck) in a nice big modern house. While she seems to be well aware of what her husband has been doing behind his back, Jean has been pretty content with merely being a loving wife to him, and she does not ask to him anything at all when he suddenly shows up along with a baby on one day. Regardless of whom the baby actually belongs to, she is ready to take care of the baby, though she is not even a very good housewife from the beginning.

However, her comfortably insulated world is suddenly turned upside down not long after that. While Jean is sleeping alone in the house at one night, one of her husband’s close associates suddenly comes into the house, and he hurriedly urges her to leave the house as soon as possible. Although the guy does not specify to her what is really going on, it looks like Eddie caused some big trouble outside, and it is apparent that she also needs to hide somewhere just like her husband.

Along with the baby and a bag full of cash, Jean is handed to a guy named Cal (Arinzé Kene), who seems to be an old friend of Eddie but does not tell her much about himself or his relationship with Eddie. Although she is not so sure about whether she can trust him at first, Jean slowly comes to depend on Cal more than expected, and they later manage to take care of a risky moment involved with a police officer in the middle of their journey.

Jean and Cal eventually arrive at a place which is supposedly safe for her as long as she keeps being quiet and not so suspicious to her new neighbors, but she soon gets frustrated with not only getting isolated but also getting exhausted due to the baby, who surely demands lots of care and attention just like many other babies. With no one to help or support her, she is frequently reminded of how clumsy she is in case of taking care of baby, and the only consolation comes from a middle-aged lady who kindly pays some attention to her new neighbor.

Around that narrative point, the screenplay by director Julian Hart and her husband Jordan Horowitz, who also produced the film along with Brosnahan, takes a plot turn earlier than expected. I will not go into details on what happens next for not spoiling your entertainment, but I can tell you at least that Jean finds herself getting involved more with Cal, and we are also introduced to several other supporting characters including Cal’s wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), who turns out to be more than a loyal spouse.

Getting to know more and more about her husband, Jean is reminded again of how she has willingly turned a blind eye to his criminal activities, and she eventually decides to become more active in dealing with her current circumstance. For instance, she learns how to use a gun, and she does not hesitate to accompany Teri when Teri is about to handle their urgent matter for herself later in the story.

As subtly conveying to us the gradual inner changes inside its heroine, the movie smoothly enters a darker and grittier territory during its third act, and Hart gives us a couple of striking sequences to be appreciated for efficiency and dramatic impact. In case of one of these sequences, cinematographer Bryce Fortner’s camera mostly sticks around Jean, but the chaos and panic surrounding her are quite palpable to us, and we come to care more about what may happen next to her.

Hart also draws good performances from her main cast members. Demonstrating the more serious sides of her considerable talent, Brosnahan is terrific in the subtle and sensitive depiction of her character’s transformation along the story, and her performance shines whenever Jean comes to reveal her inner strength behind her mildly passive appearance. Jean is certainly afraid in addition to feeling quite uncertain, but now she is quite determined to confront a mess left by her husband, and we are not so surprised at all to see how far she can push herself in the end. In case of a number of crucial supporting performers surrounding Brosnahan, Arinzé Kene, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Bill Heck, Marceline Hugot, and Frankie Faison are well-cast in their respective roles, and Kene and Blake are particularly good as a couple whose relationship is quite deeper than it seems on the surface.

In conclusion, “I’m Your Woman” is another solid genre film from Hart, who previously impressed me with her second feature film “Fast Color” (2018). Like that little overlooked gem, “I’m Your Woman” deserves more attention for trying something different on its familiar genre territory and then pulling out some interesting elements to be observed and appreciated, and I recommend you to give it a chance someday.

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