On The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Rachel Brosnahan plays a housewife who emerges as an unlikely standup comedian. In I’m Your Woman, she plays a trophy wife who rises up as an unlikely badass. For those who know Brosnahan best as the wisecracking Midge Maisel, her performance here will come off as transformative. Of course, if you’ve been following Brosnahan’s career since her guest star days on dramas likes House of Cards, you know that she’s a jack of all trades. Either way, there’s no denying that Brosnahan is a force of nature in this gripping film.
Brosnahan plays Jean, a woman with a big house, fancy clothes, and a wealthy husband named Eddie (Bill Heck). The only thing Jean doesn’t have that she desperately wants is a child. Unable to conceive, Eddie shows up one day with a baby boy, telling Jean that he’s there’s. No additional information is provided to the audience up front, but this scene sums up their relationship in so few words. Eddie provides and Jean never asks about his work. There’s a scene early on where Eddie has his associates over a meeting, closing the door on Jean. It’s reminiscent of The Godfather’s iconic ending. I’m Your Woman is like The Godfather Part II if Michael was taken out of the equation and Kay had to deal with his enemies.
In the middle of the night, Jean is awakened by a man named Cal (Arinzé Kene). He informers her that something’s gone wrong and that’s about all the information she’s initially given. Grabbing the baby, a bag, and some money, Jean’s life is uprooted in the blink of an eye. Although Jean always knew that her husband was a crook, she underestimated what he’s capable of. Likewise, Jean is forced to quickly adapt to protect her child, discovering a part of herself she never knew was there. Brosnahan makes Jean’s evolution feel natural as she goes from pampered wife, to frightened mother, to an all-around fearless woman.
Jean’s relationship with Cal is part of what makes I’m Your Woman so unique. Despite being forced together, they come to sincerely care for each other, but refreshingly not in a romantic way. Their platonic status is further solidified when Cal’s wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake) enters the mix. Teri is no stranger to her husband’s work and takes Jean under her nurturing yet fierce wing. The friendship that develops between these two ladies is especially effective as they bond over motherhood, heartbreak, and survival.
I’m Your Woman sets itself in the 1970s and Julia Hart’s tense direction fully embraces the era. In addition to The Godfather, the film has a look and feel reminiscent of other 70s crime thrillers like Dog Day Afternoon or Mean Streets. Where those films centered on male protagonists, though, Hart and Jordan Horowitz’s screenplay shifts the focus to a female perspective. There’s much more to I’m Your Woman than a gender swap, though. Its voice is original, its story keeps you guessing, and its main character stands on her own. It also serves as a reminder that there’s nothing more badass than a mother.