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American Woman


Stars: Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul, Christina Hendricks, Amy Madigan, Will Sasso, Sky Ferreira, Pat Healy

Director: Jake Scott

It seems strange to cast a London-based actress in a film called American Woman, not that Miller (who was admittedly born in New York City) isn't fine as the woman whose life proves to be a pitcher of misery - because she is.

The film itself, however, does drone on a bit. Miller, an actress one seems to permanently visualise in shades of beige, is Deb, one step above trailer trash, who lives in a bungalow opposite sister Kath (Hendricks), and her husband Terry (Sasso). Pregnant at 16, but soon single, Deb's own 16-year-old daughter Bridget (Ferreira) now has a one-year-old son of her own.

One night, Bridget leaves friends to walk home and is never seen again.

Grief-stricken, Deb, who turns tricks in between ticking tills at the local supermart, takes a loutish lover (Healy), who dominates her and her grandson and ultimately starts to beat her. She throws him out, and eventually meets Chris (Paul), three years younger.

After a cautious courtship, they marry, but this is the kind of film where you just know things are not going to end well in the romance department. Debs, meanwhile, has been bettering herself, although further shocks to her system await.

By and large, this is a well-performed piece, although it's difficult to warm to any of the characters involved.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Signature. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 07 Oct 2019