Rachel Brosnahan Defies Expectations in Amazon's 'I'm Your Woman'
The new movie starring 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' star is worth a watch.
Rachel Brosnahan is best known for playing a chatterbox on TV. In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the actress almost never stops talking. But there's a disturbing quietude that hangs over her tense new movie, I'm Your Woman, now on Amazon Prime Video. It's a film that parcels out information slowly and deliberately. For a good portion of the running time, Brosnahan remains in a state of unnerving silence. She's not supposed to talk to anyone, and most of the time there's no one, save for a crying baby, near her anyway.
The latest from director Julia Hart, who made the underrated Fast Color last year, is a '70s gangster story that defies all of the tropes of what you expect when you read "'70s gangster story." Brosnahan plays Jean, the wife of Eddie (Bill Heck). Eddie's business is crime, but to what extent Jean doesn't know or doesn't care. They don't have children except one day Eddie comes home and presents Jean with a baby, which he says is now their child.
One night Jean and the baby are asleep when one of Eddie's associates comes to their door explaining that Eddie is in trouble and Jean needs to disappear. With little information, she dutifully does what she is told, coming under the care of Cal (Arinzé Kene), who is reluctant to reveal just how he knows her spouse.
Hart, who co-wrote the screenplay with her husband Jordan Horowitz, is less interested in the specifics of Eddie's dealings than she is in the loneliness and confusion that overtakes Jean. Jean is not incompetent, but she is unsettled and, as her situation gets more and more complicated, she's forced to reckon with her own ignorance.
Despite what the poster might imply, I'm Your Woman does not echo a narrative like Steve McQueen's Widows, where mob wives become the bosses in the absence of their husbands. Instead, Hart crafts a near horror piece about one woman's isolation, exacerbated by the mystery of her husband's whereabouts and the stresses of new motherhood.
Eventually more people enter the story including the marvelous Marsha Stephanie Blake as Teri, whose life parallels Jean's in disconcerting ways. There's a deliberate slowness to the narrative—an almost carefulness, like someone tiptoeing around a room so as not to be heard—even as it is punctuated by bursts of action. Jean has secrets she is keeping close even as secrets are kept from her.
Brosnahan's performance is full of tiny nuance. The first image of Jean finds her sunbathing in a feathered robe and sunglasses, the perfect image of a glamorous moll. That existence is quickly ripped away from her, but hints of it keep returning. She's adaptable, but seeping with discomfort; exasperated, but often quite warm.
I'm Your Woman is not really about what happened to Eddie or why Jean is being targeted, but it nevertheless keeps surprising the viewer at every turn, even as it revels in the quieter side of its genre.
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