“American Woman” is a very touching, poignant film that had enormous emotional impact on this reviewer. Sienna Miller plays a young single mom (only 32) whose teenaged daughter disappears without a trace. She’s left to raise her infant grandson. The film unflinchingly explores the next 11 years of her life as a single mom, the second time around.
Miller proves she is up to the difficult task, and it’s satisfying to watch her grow. Her spirited, rule-breaking younger self is slowly replaced by a mature, more independent woman. One who accepts responsibility and learns to make better decisions. Just like real life, most of these lessons are learned “the hard way.”
Miller’s character is often guilty of trusting the wrong people, and being hurt in the process. Several times during the film I was sadly disheartened for her. Yet always hoping against hope this time things would finally turn out right.
Sienna Miller & Christina Hendricks Play Sisters
While Miller is the emotional heart of the film, other cast members also deserve applause. It was refreshing to see Christina Hendricks (best known for being a wildly independent woman in “Mad Men,”) cast as Miller’s good sister. Sis is almost like a “Stepford wife,” but nicer and sweeter. You know the type, who married a good but somewhat boring guy, now raising their perfect family without ever breaking rules. Hendricks and her husband (Will Sasso) live just across the street from Miller. They look out for her, and frequently have to rescue her from bad situations.
Also in the cast are Aaron Paul as yet another lover who lets Miller down, and Amy Madigan as her mom. Sky Ferreira plays her teenaged daughter.
“American Woman” is directed by Jake Scott, from a screenplay by Brad Ingelsby. The Roadside Attractions drama is set in a blue-collar town in Pennsylvania, and runs 111 minutes. The film opens in Dallas June 14, in a limited run including Angelica Film Center. “American Woman” is rated R for language, sexual content and brief drug use.