There are loads of crime dramas about bad guys on the run but “I’m Your Woman,” a new thriller starring “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” Rachel Brosnahan and now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, tells the story from a different perspective, the bad guy’s wife.
The action begins when Jean’s (Brosnahan) husband Eddie (Bill Heck) comes home with a baby. We later learn she’s unable to conceive and because of his criminal record they can’t adopt, so Eddie “finds” a baby and now they’re a family of three. That night Jean is woken up by loud bangs on the door. Eddie has disappeared and now she has to flee in the company of one of her husband’s associates, a kindhearted killer named Cal (Arinze Kene). She doesn’t know where Eddie is or why he disappeared, but there is an urgency to the situation. On the road, hop scotching from seedy motels and safe houses to remote cabins, the pair try and stay one step ahead of the baddies who hunt them in their search for the elusive Eddie.
“I’m Your Woman” is a quiet movie. The stillness only broken up by the occasional door knock or gunshot. It’s the story of a woman trapped in a situation not of her making, who must shape her own destiny. It draws on 1970s crime dramas and even borrows its title from a line in Michael Mann’s 1981 “Thief,”—I’m your woman,” Tuesday Weld tells James Caan, “and you’re my man.”—but make no mistake, this isn’t simply a film that flips the genders of the protagonists. The movies that inspired it may have starred men but this is a different story, it’s a look at what happens when the men aren’t around.
There’s more than that, however. “I’m Your Woman” is a much more human story than the paranoid thrillers that informed it are not. Here Jean isn’t fighting against a machine or the government, but against the imbalance of power in a personal situation. It changes the dynamic of the storytelling and puts the focus on the person doing the fighting, Jean, and not some monolithic organization.
Brosnahan is in almost every frame of “I’m Your Woman” and yet there isn’t a trace of Mrs. Maisel to be found. In a terrific performance she allows Jean to uncork survival skills she didn’t realize she had. But, just as this isn’t “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” it also isn’t “Atomic Blonde.” It’s a movie that guides us through Jean’s journey step by step, without flashy action or a big body count.
As a result, “I’m Your Woman” does away with the nihilism of many thrillers to offer something rare for the genre, and that’s hope for the future.