‘I’M Your Woman’ is a period mystery drama starring Rachel Brosnahan, who won the Emmy best comedy actress twice for her title role portrayal of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” in 2018 and 2019. She was also nominated in the drama category for her performance as the ill-fated prostitute named Rachel in “House of Cards”.
In “I’m Your Woman”, she plays Jean, a simple housewife in the 70s whose husband Eddie (Bill Heck) is connected with organized crime. Jean cannot have her own child after so many miscarriages, so she’s surprised when one day, Eddie suddenly arrives with a baby boy as their adopted child. Jean calls him Harry. The baby they got to play Harry is cuteness overload, a real charmer who seems to really know how to act for the camera.
Soon after that, Eddie goes missing. Jean is told by his partner that she should go hiding as Eddie’s enemies, who are all looking for him, might kill her. A big black guy, Cal (Arinze Kene), is assigned to help and protect her. He takes her and baby Harry to a house in a strange and unfamiliar neighborhood.
Cal orders Jean not to talk to any of her neighbors. But a friendly widow, Evelyn (Marceline Hugot) visits her and gives her food to welcome her. Soon, strange men accost her. It’s good Cal comes to her rescue and, in the process, the helpful and innocent Evelyn also gets killed.
Jean is so horrified as Cal blames Evelyn’s death on her as she didn’t listen to his order not to befriend any neighbor. Cal then takes her and the baby to a cabin in the woods. He tells her that Eddie is already dead and various gangs are now fighting for supremacy after Eddie has killed his own boss.
A black woman, Teri (Marsha Blake), and her son, Paul (Mauri Parks), soon arrive. Terri turns out to be the first wife of Eddie but is now the wife of Cal and Paul’s dad turns out to be actually Eddie. Also joining them is Art (Frankie Faison), who coaches Jean on how to fire a gun.
You’d think “I’m Your Woman” is a boring drama as it starts with a matter of fact voice over narration saying: “Eddie and Jean met and fell in love. Eddie and Jean got married and bought a house. Eddie and Jean were going to have a kid but didn’t.” But with a truly desperate housewife as the female lead who’s put into a dangerous situation she didn’t expect, learns to fend for herself and has to be a step ahead of the bad guys who want to kill her, the film offers many surprises as it goes along.
Rachel Brosnahan obviously did this film as an abrupt departure from her comic starring role as Mrs. Maisel. Previous to this, she also did a supporting role as a CIA agent in the espionage drama, “The Courier”. And in all fairness to her, she acquits herself quite well as Jean as she totally disappears into her role as the wife who is forced to use a gun and defend herself and her baby after her husband, who’s a career criminal, goes missing in action. She projects Jean as someone with innate survival instincts.
The production team did a great job of coming up with 70s costumes, production design and even in the sound track and its choice of songs. The movie is directed by Julia Hart who co-wrote it with husband Jordan Horowitz. Earlier, she also made “Fast Color” about a woman with superpowers that she rejects.
She has her own distinctive style and visually riveting way of telling her stories focused on embattled women and demystifying crime stories of the 70s centering on men. It unfolds on a serene slow burn, but the tension builds up while you keep on guessing as to where the story will take you.
This is so different from the 1988 movie, “Married to the Mob”, with Michelle Pfeiffer playing the role of a Mafia wife who wants to break away from their life of crime. They’re both about wives who become collateral damage to the criminal antics of their gangster husbands, but “Married” is treated as a comedy while “I’m Your Woman” treats the wife from a very human perspective as a victim so confused with the fall out from her husband’s past misdeeds.