TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘I Am Woman’

TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘I Am Woman’

Director Unjoo Moon loves her musicians, but for I Am Woman, she switches from the documentary genre to narrative. This time around, she uses film to portray Helen Reddy, the woman who sang feminist anthems. The most famous, of course, is the song that shares the same name as this biographical film.

This is Moon’s second collaboration with Dion Beebe to depict three decades of the singer’s life. During those three decades, Reddy (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) moves from New York to Los Angeles for her career. Depicting those transitions, Moon and Beebe use a palette that makes cool colors inviting.

Aesthetics are always a reason to watch a film, but so are the relationships it depicts. The first one is between Reddy and fellow Australian Lillian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald), a writer, always cheerful. The second is Jeff Wald (Evan Peters) who supported her career before he became her abuser.

The film presents Reddy’s life in an interesting way more than it does with her musical performances. It also doesn’t show enough of her process, which only has her turning down bad songs. It didn’t give me a sense of what her music is like outside of her big anthem.

But it makes up for that lack within the music department with its message about fighting misogyny. It encapsulates what living under the patriarchy is like, making even men understand that hard life. It makes her struggle to stay alive like the revolutionary act that we deserve to see it as.

For more information go to https://www.tiff.net/events/i-am-woman.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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