‘I’m Your Woman’ Review: Rachel Brosnahan’s Poignant Act Makes This Masterful Crime Drama All The Better

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I’m Your Woman, directed by Julia Hart and written by Hart and Jordan Horowitz, is the story of a woman named Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) who is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners. She receives help from her husband’s old friends but it’s only a matter of time that they run out of places to hide. It’s an expertly staged movie with unpredictable plot twists and character revelations that are coated with a deep sense of empathy. And despite the slow-burn pacing, it manages to engage you with great cinematography, crisp editing, brilliant costume and production design, and a stellar performance from Rachel Brosnahan.


For some reason, I wasn’t keen on watching I’m Your Woman. Something about the title didn’t just sit right with me. I’m your woman? It felt like something that Kabir Singh’s girlfriend would say and Kabir Singh would laud her for it without pointing out the fact that she has no identity of her own and that that’s deeply problematic. I didn’t even watch the trailer. I love Rachel Brosnahan and I watched exactly the first few seconds of it and clicked the big, red X at the top-right corner of the browser. But then I thought that I will give it a chance because Brosnahan has a good CV and I trust her. And I watched it and I gasped, I cried, I sat at the edge of my seat, and I deeply enjoyed the whole movie because it was nothing that I expected it to be.


I’m Your Woman is directed by Julia Hart. It’s written by Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz. The music is by Aska Matsumiya, cinematography by Bruce Fortner, editing by Shayar Bhansali and Tracey Wadmore-Smith, production design by Gae S. Buckley, art direction by Gary Kosko, set decoration by Patrick Cassidy, costume design by Natalie O’Brien, hair and make-up by Jacqueline D. Bell, Victor Jones-Moore, and Darylin Nagy, and stunt coordination by Alan D’Antoni. The cast features Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Frankie Faison, Marceline Hugot, De’Mauri Parks, James McMenamin, Bill Heck, Jarrod DiGiorgi, and all the baby Harrys are played by Jameson Charles, Justin Charles, and Barrett Shaffer. The story revolves around Jean (Brosnahan) who and a baby (Yes, not her baby) has to go on the run after her husband, Eddie (Heck) betrays his partners. But it’s only a matter of time that she gets caught.

Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz subverts an age-old crime-drama trope and takes its central character on an interesting journey.

Going back to the problem that I thought that I’m Your Woman will have, I was under the impression that the movie is going to play into the trope that has oft been used in gangster-esque, crime dramas where the female character has to live under the shadow of the larger-than-life “hero”. It does begin on that note. Jean seems like this sad but pretty doll of a person who isn’t good at anything and is allowed to stick around with the “hero” because of said prettiness. It even shows the “hero” going on a mystery mission and his friends coming to take his loved ones to a safe place. But instead of following the “hero” (I am referring to Eddie as that because he is no hero), Hart and Horowitz follow Jean and how his irresponsible behaviour has jeopardized not just her life but many others as well.


For the first time in a long time, the heroics is replaced by empathy and the heroes are replaced by those who they use as props to look human. At the point at which we meet Jean, she’s ready to become the cliche that she has always been portrayed as but Eddie inadvertently stops her in more ways than one (No brownie points for him for that). It becomes the inciting incident that makes Jean from just being Eddie’s woman to being an empathetic, strong, intelligent fighter who has an identity of her own. This is the anti-Kabir Singh movie everyone was waiting for. And this evolution is staged so perfectly! The story progresses very naturally and logically to kind of activate Jean’s latent characteristics. So, they show up exactly when they need to and you feel the catharsis that she feels and that’s neat!

Julia Hart tackles dramatic scenes with as much empathy as she does while depicting scenes involving crimes.

The movie’s pace is slow. I will tell you that. It does get a little boring sometimes as well. So, you have to power through the first 45-minutes of silent confusion, just like Jean does. But right around the 45-minute mark, shit hits the fan and you get a pretty good picture of how serious the stakes are. Nothing in it is hyper-stylised like others tend to do every time a story is set in the ’70s. Yes, the guns, the cars, the sets, the costumes, the score, everything is accurate to the T. However, the period setting is just there to show the lack of connectivity that doesn’t allow Jean to get closure regarding pivotal pieces of information, thereby allowing every moment of tension to stretch to its maximum. And that makes room for, as mentioned before, the most important aspect of I’m Your Woman i.e. empathy.

Hart always keeps the camera on Brosnahan. We see only what she sees and hence we know only what she knows. It does lead to the problem of the villain(s) not getting fleshed properly. But the subjective storytelling allows the movie to have these long-drawn conversations about absent husbands and absent fathers and effectively send the message that while men will go for a Hail Mary attempt to make things right and die, women will always find a way to come back because their empathy accentuates their sense of responsibility. Now, Hart undoubtedly goes into extreme detail to show this change in affection. But sometimes it seems like she leaves out bits and pieces which we only get to know through exposition. We first get to know that she sings to Harry before seeing her actually do it. It’s like the movie is opening up to us when Jean does so and I think that’s a nice touch!

Rachel Brosnahan peels off layers of her character with immense care and is aided aptly by Marsha Stephanie Blake and Arinzé Kene’s supporting acts.

I won’t give you any context apart from the fact that the scene in question happens after a really stressful night. Brosnahan’s character has been walking the whole night and during the morning she seeks refuge at a laundromat. She looks at everyone. It’s just women and there are hardly any men. She sits down and as soon as the old lady asks her if she’s alright, she starts to cry. It’s a painful and thought-provoking moment that lands just perfectly due to Brosnahan’s tremendously real performance. We do get glimpses of this raw emotion that’s bubbling underneath the surface because her character is suppressing it so hard. But it’s at that moment that she just lets go and I let go as well and she cried and I cried as well and it was one of the most hauntingly beautiful scenes that I have seen in a movie this year. Bravo, Brosnahan!

Arinzé Kene’s performance is controlled and yet powerful. It’s like he belongs in a Bond or a Bourne or a Hunt movie. He exudes this sense of efficiency that is synonymous with that genre. But he’s a cut above the rest because he can handle babies as superbly as he can handle guns. I wished that he got to do more but that’s probably the “man” in me talking because this is not a movie about men. It’s about those that they leave behind like idiots! Marsha Stephanie Blake’s Teri is actually what Jean needs to be. She portrays her character’s street-level knowledge and understanding of equality with such poise that it is truly intriguing to watch. Frankie Faison and Marceline Hugot as the two oldies who are just trying to find some semblance of peace are heartbreaking in their respective roles. And a major shoutout to the kids for holding their own in this emotionally dense film.

Final verdict.

To put it plainly, I’m Your Woman is one of the best movies of the year. Now, I can go on and on about the visual storytelling in the movie where Julia Hart frames Jean going down a street after a shootout in the same way as she does when Jean is taking Harry out for a stroll in order to show how different things are when you’re ignorant of the world you live in versus when you’re not. I can go on and on about the narrative structure of the film and how it plays with our expectations from crime dramas that have been built thanks to the hundreds of male-centric crime dramas. But I won’t because I want you to experience it for yourself and gawk at the tremendous amount of talent that’s on display. And I sincerely hope that filmmakers and storytellers who are aiming to make their mark in this particular genre take a page out of I’m Your Woman’s book and put empathy before anything else.

SEE ALSO: Sound Of Metal Review – Riz Ahmed Delivers A Gut-wrenching Performance As A Deaf Drummer

Cover artwork by Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India

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