Saturday 25 February 2023

Movie Review: American Woman (2018)

Genre: Drama
Director: Jake Scott
Starring: Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Amy Madigan, Aaron Paul
Running Time: 112 minutes

Synopsis: In rural Pennsylvania, the anarchic Debra (Sienna Miller) is a single mom to teenager Bridget (Sky Ferreira), who herself is a single mom to infant Jesse. They live across the street from Debra's more settled sister Katherine (Christina Hendricks) and her family. When Bridget goes missing without a trace, Debra's life is upended. 

What Works Well: Director Jake Scott (Ridley's son) and writer Brad Ingelsby construct a teasing story of one woman's scrappy life in the working class shadows. Economic survival depends on snaring a man, and the threats of abuse, unplanned pregnancy, and personal ruin are always close. The narrative circumvents convention: Bridget's disappearance is only one chapter in Debra's life, and the plot adopts a stubborn and ultimately rewarding commitment to the climb from the depths. Sienna Miller registers a career highlight with a realistically slow evolution of emotional maturity, and is well supported by Christina Hendricks as the responsible sister.

What Does Not Work As Well: By design, the structure settles into episodic rhythms, including some forward lurches that skip ahead several years. 

Conclusion: A soulful portrayal of the arduous journey towards individual betterment.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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