‘I'm Your Woman’: Is Rachel Brosnahan better in Amazon Studios' dark crime-drama or ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’?
'There were times on set when Rachel was unrecognizable to me. I knew her work from ‘House of Cards’ and ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’' writer-director Julia Hart has said
Rachel Brosnahan worked her magic on the hearts of ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ fans with her sunny, plucky comedic character, Miriam “Midge” Maisel. In a decidedly female take on the classic crime dramas of the 1970s — ‘I'm Your Woman’ — the 30-year-old now stars as an independent young woman Jean. But, is she as good, better or worse than her beloved role in the period comedy-drama?
“Rachel is a very committed and talented producer,” Julia Hart, who directed the two-hour movie from a screenplay co-written with Jordan Horowitz, said in a press junket interview. Talking about how the actress was also a producer on the film, Hart said: “Having your lead actor be a part of production conversations outside of their character was an amazing experience. She and Jordan made a great team. I felt so supported and seen and challenged in all the right ways.”
Hart also added, “There were times on set when Rachel was unrecognizable to me. I knew her work from ‘House of Cards’ and ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ which are very different performances. Seeing her as Jean is another amazing transformation. She’s really a character actor in a movie star’s body.”
Not just Hart, Horowitz was also all praise for the actress. “She is quite extraordinary, with exceptional control of her instrument,” the writer-producer said. “I slipped the script to her manager, who has been a friend for a long time. She loved it and when she and Julia met, we could see that this would be an ideal situation. Since Rachel had a deal with Amazon Studios, it made sense to bring it there first.”
So, how comfortable was Rachel in that role? “This character is so far away from Midge,” she noted. “I like to play characters I don’t immediately understand. My favorite part of the acting process is the moment I can go from knowing that I haven’t quite got it to seeing the character begin to take shape in front of my eyes.”
Sketching Jean's character, Brosnahan said. “She doesn’t believe her own instincts. She always feels she is not doing what she should, not living up to expectations, but she learns that she was capable all along, in fact far more capable than she could ever have dreamed.” The question of motherhood is also central to Jean’s dilemma. After wanting a child desperately she resigns herself to the fact she cannot have children. But then she is suddenly left with a baby she did not ask for or plan on. “We rarely see a mother who doesn’t connect with her child on screen, but I think it is something many women fear will happen to them,” says Brosnahan. “And it’s not always perfect. The bond can take a while. I don’t have children but it’s something I have considered myself. I thought it was just me, but it’s apparently not uncommon.”
A sharp and sophisticated actress, Rachel knows how to bring up the right palette of emotions. If she was chirpy in ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’, she is grave in ‘I'm Your Woman’. If she was chatty in ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’, she is grim and mysterious in ‘I'm Your Woman’. We can't pin it on whether or not she is better in the new movie, but she is certainly different. While some viewers love to see her in a new shade, others don't find it quite appealing.
Moreover, not all viewers are happy with the plot. “#ImYourWoman on Amazon is one of the slowest movies I've ever seen. It's basically a woman walking around with a baby while a really exciting and interesting movie happens in the next room.” But many are spellbound in just a glance. Another wrote on YouTube, “Okay so there is a lady with a child and her husband left her, This sounds like the darker version of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.” A third continued, “Why does it hurt so much to see Midge in such an awful situation?”
#ImYourWoman on Amazon is one of the slowest movies I've ever seen. It's basically a woman walking around with a baby while a really exciting and interesting movie happens in the next room.— Geonn Cannon he/him (@GeonnCannon) December 11, 2020
Brosnahan’s deep investment in the film and the character has been an unexpected gift for Hart. “Jean is such an important character for me,” the director said. “I lived with her so long and to see her brought to life so beautifully has exceeded all my expectations. Rachel does many remarkable things in this movie — and most of them with a baby in her arms.”
Brosnahan was equally appreciative of Hart. “I appreciate the way Julia embraces her femininity as a director,” she said. “The impulse, when a woman finds herself in a powerful position, is often to try and behave in a more masculine way. Julia transformed the energy of the set in her own way. She brought out a unique side of every person working on it. She’s incredibly generous with herself and her time. It made everyone work better and harder and more collaboratively because they were encouraged to be exactly who they are.” Talking about the script and how long it took to put it all together, she added, “I knew how special it was for her. But she let me into the process. I loved working with her. She is so talented and has an innate curiosity about people that spills out through her work.”
Brosnahan’s crime drama ‘I'm Your Woman’ opened at the AFI Fest during its 34th edition on October 15-22. It was released in a limited release on December 4, 2020, followed by Prime Video on December 11, 2020, by Amazon Studios.