I’m Your Woman
2020, R, 120 min. Directed by Julia Hart. Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Jameson Charles, Justin Charles, Barrett Shaffer, Frankie Faison.
REVIEWED By Jenny Nulf, Fri., Dec. 11, 2020
What happens to the women that are too often tossed aside in the crime dramas built around men? In I’m Your Woman, director and co-writer Hart (Fast Color) explores what it’s like to be the wife on the run. Shortly after Jean (Brosnahan) is gifted a baby by her husband, he disappears on a work trip, leaving her scrambling to pack up and run away with a man named Cal (Kene), who Jean had never heard of before this very moment.
The first hour of the film spotlights Jean and Cal on the move. Hart and co-writer Jordan Horowitz use people as roadblocks and props rather than fleshing them out, which is one of the many issues with their screenplay. Instead of character-based plot developments, there are shoehorned scenes, like where Cal is harassed by a police officer, and the first genuine moment clocks in almost an hour into the story as Cal and Jean flee their first safe house.
Only when Jean finally reaches the second safe house do we start to get some answers, but not enough to keep the intrigue up. At least we are finally introduced to the film’s best character, Teri (Blake), who is an active woman where Jean is a passive one. However, she also holds the curse of exposition, something I’m Your Woman needed long before. It’s a bit “too little, too late,” and even a glamorous, beautifully textured nightclub scene can’t take away from the fact that Jean isn’t enough of a strong protagonist to carry her own film. Hart and Horowitz sought to make a movie about the woman being the man, but that woman is too plain-Jane and unremarkable to sustain this drama.
Sometimes slow burn is a perfect tool for a throwback thriller such as this. It creates a palpable amount of tension, gliding its audience through a storm of thick, suffocating storytelling. It’s hard to get right, and in the case of I’m Your Woman, something is amiss. Long takes of actors sitting in cars, diners, and safe houses make the conversation flow feel stunted, and more so because the dialogue isn’t going anywhere. At a two-hour run time, Hart attempts to make you feel every moment, but most of these plotless, meandering moments just seem to feel empty. The magic never clicks, and this rich-looking, Seventies-set thriller ends up feeling more like a drag on an unlit cigarette than a burn.
I’m Your Woman is available now on Amazon Prime.
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I’m Your Woman, Julia Hart, Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Jameson Charles, Justin Charles, Barrett Shaffer, Frankie Faison