Movie Review: Rachel Brosnahan Assures Everyone, ‘I’m Your Woman’

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I’m Your Woman (CREDIT: Wilson Webb/Amazon Studios)

Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Arinzé Kene, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Bill Heck, Frankie Faison, Marceline Hugot

Director: Julia Hart

Running Time: 120 Minutes

Rating: R for Deadly Gunshots and Tough Guy Language

Release Date: December 4, 2020 (Select Theaters)/December 11, 2020 (Amazon Prime Video)

Do you think you would be entertained if someone told Rachel Brosnahan that she needed to leave her house immediately and then gave her a gun just in case, even though she’s never handled one before? Surely, there are plenty of people who believe that “woman on the run + gun” is a foolproof formula for quality cinema. When that woman is the star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it turns out that she is more than up for the task. Did I mention that there’s also a baby in the mix? Because that’s pretty important. As very frustrated housewife (or house-less-wife) Jean, Brosnahan spends a significant portion of I’m Your Woman with a baby in one hand and a gun in the other. She’s not quite sure how she ended up in this mess, and neither are we, but goshdangit if she doesn’t convince us that we’re all going to make it through together unscathed.

It all kicks off as an unholy mix of The Godfather and Raising Arizona dressed up in the most 1970s of full-length trench coats. We meet Jean when she’s been struggling through miscarriage after miscarriage, but then one day her husband Eddie (Bill Heck) shows up at their front door with a random infant in tow. Soon after, he’s closing a door on her so that he can talk shop with some guys in private in much the same way that Michael Corleone kept Kay shut off from his business. While Jean never quite learns what Eddie is up to, she does know that it is very, very bad, as Eddie’s associate Cal (Arinzé Kene) soon shows up to whisk her and the baby off to a series of safe houses. Eventually Cal’s family joins in on the mission as well, and Jean basically becomes reborn as the ultimate survivor.

Structurally, I’m Your Woman works in fits and starts, kind of by design. There are significant stretches of Jean just sitting around watching TV and nodding off in the middle of the afternoon, occasionally waking up to look over her shoulder. These segments are rather numbing, but we’re meant to absorb her simmering anxiety. They’re surrounded by a series of high-tension car rides, nightclub shootouts, and good old-fashioned running towards some semblance of safety. Consistently carrying us through both all the numb and all the exciting is Brosnahan’s steely resolve. It’s a big ask to give any lead actor that much cinematic responsibility, but she’s ready to take care of us.

I’m Your Woman is Recommended If You Like: Focusing on the characters who are usually given short shrift, Long Tan Trench Coats, Aretha Franklin covers

Grade: 3 out of 5 Secrets

‘The Grudge’ Just Won’t End, and That’s Fitfully Fascinating


CREDIT: Allen Fraser/Sony/Screen Gems

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Frankie Faison, William Sadler

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Rating: R for Dismemberment, Fire, Drowning, Stabbing, and Gunshot Wounds

Release Date: January 3, 2020

In the spirit of experimentation, I have decided that my first movie review of 2020 will be in the form of an acrostic. The letters I will be using will be those in the title (not including the “the”), that title being The Grudge, the remake of a remake (or perhaps the latest remake of the first version) about the ghostly curse that lingers in a house where an anger-filled murder has occurred. This time, it takes the form of a multi-murder mystery in which those investigating the deaths at 44 Reyburn Drive run the risk of becoming infected by the grudge themselves.

Great cast! I mean, just look at that list. That’s at least half a dozen folks that could carry a horror movie (or any movie) on their own, and here they are together. Do they elevate the material that’s on the page? Yes, and it could use some elevating.

Repeating the formula is the name of the game here, but not the Grudge formula (or not just the Grudge formula). If you’re hankering for a return to J-horror remake glory, chances are you’ve got The Ring on your mind, and so does, it would seem, The Grudge 2020, as Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) is most concerned about protecting her son from the effects of the curse that she is experiencing.

Upside-down is how you’ll be looking during one particularly grisly moment involving Lin Shaye. It’s also how you’ll be feeling when things turn metaphysical and conversations discuss how supernatural curses go hand-in-hand with time distortion.

Digits (i.e., fingers) get hacked off. In general, writer/director Nicolas Pesce is not shy about bodies becoming pummeled, ripped apart, and decayed. It’s this movie’s most effectively visceral technique.

Generosity, and a fair bit at that, is probably required to give this umpteenth entry in a long-running, occasionally ponderous franchise a chance. An effective atmosphere is met, and frankly, that is a must that must be met in this sort of challenge.

Ending… it looked like it was going to be conclusive, which wouldn’t have been a good fit for the endless hopelessness inherent in this premise. But then there’s a fakeout, and instead of a punch in the gut, you leave with more of a whoosh.

The Grudge is Recommended If You Like: Diving into the infinite reboot loop while allowing some room for hope

Grade: 2.75 out of 5 Hands Popping Out of Hair