American Woman: Film Review

Sienna Miller hasn’t been given the opportunity to shine for years so I’m glad she’s been given a chance to prove what she’s capable of with American Woman.

She stars as Deb, a single mother to Bridget (Sky Ferreira), who is also raising a young boy named Jessie. When Bridget disappears, Deb is left in charge of her grandson while simultaneously mourning her missing daughter.

To be honest, I thought this was going to be more about the missing person case than a character study. The disappearance hooks you into the story but then the film spends the majority of its duration just following Deb as she figures out her new way of life. It spans many years, following Deb’s relationships with Ray (Pat Healy) and Chris (Aaron Paul) and her trying to juggle her job, her business classes and raising her grandson. The heart of the film for me lied with Deb’s relationship with her older sister Kath (Christina Hendricks), who lives across the road. Their bond was so heartwarming.

It sounds dull but it was interesting watching Deb go from who she was at the start of the film to who she becomes at the end. She goes through a self-destructive phase, a healing phase and thankfully decides to take charge of her own destiny. Miller navigates Deb’s tumultuous journey incredibly well and I’m not surprised she’s received some early Oscars buzz (I can’t imagine she’ll get it from a movie this small though). Her performance is really impressive despite being quite low-key and you realise how much you’ve come to care for Deb once you reach the emotional ending.

American Woman is slow and goes on for a bit longer than it should but I still enjoyed it. Miller finally gets to sink her teeth into a complex, messy, well-written character and she doesn’t disappoint.

In selected cinemas from Friday 11th October 

Rating: 3/5

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