I’m Your Woman

Jean’s life is a little unusual even before it goes to shit. She sits on a lounge chair in the back yard, sipping wine in her marabou-trimmed dressing gown, dark glasses covering the sorrow in her eyes. She and her husband meant to have babies, she tells us, but couldn’t. So now she’s got nothing to do. Except one day husband Eddie walks through the door with a baby in his arms, provenance unknown, may as well have the tags still attached not unlike her fancy new dressing gown.

With a baby literally dropped right in her lap, Jean’s (Rachel Brosnahan) life is certainly turned upside down, and quite suddenly, but baby Harry’s actually the least of it. One night her husband goes out to work and in his stead, an associate of his turns up at some ungodly hour, stuffing a suitcase full of cash she didn’t know was in their closet, telling her not to pause for clothes or toiletries, they need to get out NOW. Delivered to her new minder Cal (Arinzé Kene), it turns out that her husband is a bad man who’s just betrayed his partners, and now she and baby Harry are running for their lives, their only allies Cal and his wife Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), who were complete strangers to her just minutes ago. Of course, she’s starting to realize that her husband’s been a stranger to her too, she just didn’t know it. A lot of his secrets are coming loose, and none of them are making Jean or her baby any safer.

I knew I was in for a 1970s crime drama of some sort but was pretty pleased to find it defying expectations. Director Julia Hart (who writes with husband/director Jordan Horowitz) wants to see things from the other side of the story, turning our assumptions on their head and finding fresh perspectives to breathe new life into a genre we’ve so many times before it’s already retro. Smart and subversive but sparsely told, I’m Your Woman examines mob life for the wives who’ve been left at home, but not entirely left out of the fray. The 70s were a rapidly changing time for women and the roles they played, and Hart discovers a very clever space for exploring it – at least between bouts of action, of course.

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