The last sentence of dialogue in this superbly crafted thriller with a female hero who burns up the screen like a meteor of muliebrity is potently pertinent. “You are not supposed to look back,” a little boy reminds our heroine Jean, played by Rachel Broshnan, our marvelous Mrs. Maisel now on a different trip altogether.
Apart from calling it a very dark thriller, I can’t think of how to define this fiercely individualistic drama about a woman coming of rage. Quirky images carpet this trippy drama but never overwhelm it. You will smile with gratitude and relief when two little children will smile at you at the end from their hiding place away from the brutal mafia.
You will be puzzled by the opening sequence where Miss Broshnan (Mrs Maisel to you) sits in a brand new red dress trying to rip off the price tag. It’s only later that I realized what the opening meant. Rachel’s loving husband provides her with everything except a sense of emotional security. A child is desperately needed. Rachel’s husband shows up with a heart-stealing baby in his hands.
“He’s yours, ” says the husband, and then disappears. The screenplay (brilliant, simply brilliant, take a bow Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz) then follows Rachel’s escape plan with a mysterious strong, and silent black man Cal (Arinze Kene) whose job is to protect Rachel and the baby at any cost. Rachel has a million questions. Cal doesn’t talk much. He has plenty of say. But he can’t say anything.
My favourite parts of the film are inside the home where Rachel is hidden with her baby (an absolute natural-born scene-stealer). Rachel cooking, eating, preparing her child’s milk, pacing up and down with him when he cries, throwing the eggs on the kitchen wall in the frustrations of the eerie silence….then a kindly neighbour whose arrival breaks the silent monotony. The narrative simmers and crackles with chilling signals of danger lurking around the corner.
You feel for Rachel and the baby. You want to protect them as they move closer and closer to danger until you are right in the middle of mayhem with Rachel and the baby. The post-midpoint half is far noisier and frantic, with screeching cars and screaming plot points that beckon our interest into the bloodshed.
As Rachel runs with her newly-found friend, a tenacious secretive woman named Teri (Marsha Stephani Blake) all hell breaks loose. The grand restraint of the earlier scenes is hastily pushed aside for some serious old fashioned car chases. This is set in the 1970s, although no one points out the era. Why should they? They are too busy trying to stay alive to care about sharing information.
At one point in the confident energetic yet tempered rather than temperamental narrative patriarch lulls Rachel’s baby to sleep when the baby wakes up in the night. He refuses to let her feed him.
“He should know now rather than later that people don’t eat in the middle of the night,” the patriarch announces. The words reverberate across this story of learning life’s better lessons before it’s too late. Don’t miss this.
Directed by Julia Heart I Am Your Woman Gets 3 and a half stars.
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