Husband-and-wife filmmaking team Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz turn the gritty mafia movie upside down with this completely enthralling drama. Usually, when movies are made about a mob "family," the term refers to the network of those working under one mob boss. I'm Your Woman focuses on a mafia member's actual family. And in revealing how that family's lives are up-ended in the wake of one person's crime and violence, director Hart delivers the opposite of The Godfather, Scarface, or Goodfellas in every way. There's no celebration of organized crime here. There's no implication that power obtained through guns and violence is cool or that money acquired in such a way creates a better life. Here, guns have weight, literally. Gunfire isn't just felt emotionally felt: Hart delivers a visceral experience so that viewers can almost feel how heavy the gun is in Jean's hand or pocket, establishing an uncomfortable feeling of lurking danger.
Jean isn't totally innocent, but she starts as a bit of a ninny. She lounges around in her posh but not extravagant house, dreaming of having a baby because, as a wife in the early '70s, that's what she expected from life. She's a blank-slate beauty, the product of an old-school White patriarchal environment where she hasn't been given guidance or encouragement to develop skills, an education, or a personality -- because why would she need those things? And because of that, she doesn't believe in asking questions; she finds security in a husband who loves and takes care of her, including when he just shows up with a baby and declares that it's theirs, saying "it's all worked out." In other words, Jean is weak. But when the rug is pulled out from under her, instead of buckling and behaving in a way that would result in her getting killed, Jean now has this baby to protect. She hasn't internally accepted him as hers yet, but she must keep him, and therefore herself, safe. Brosnahan deftly shows the gradual evolution of a woman realizing she must find her strength and exceed her own expectations. She proves again that she is truly a "marvelous" actress, and I'm Your Woman is an excellent option for older teens as a counter to the toxic masculinity of so many "mob muscle" cinema classics.