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American Woman

3 out of 5 stars

Sienna Miller puts in one of finest performances in this anguished story of American family life.

Dave Calhoun

Time Out says

Sienna Miller shines in this US drama in the somewhat unlikely role of Deb, a hard-partying young grandma struggling through everyday life on the Pennsylvania rust belt. Some of the problems that she faces are familiar – a stormy love life; up-and-down relations with her more settled sister (Christina Hendricks); a disapproving mum; and the difficulties of raising a child alone. But there’s a special tragedy that underpins ‘American Woman’: the disappearance of Deb’s teenage daughter, Bridget. She goes out one night, leaving her baby in Deb’s arms, and is never seen again after a row with her boyfriend and a night drinking away her sorrows at a friend’s house.

From those traumatic beginnings, ‘American Woman’ unfolds over about a decade. This solid, touching drama from Jake Scott (son of Ridley) plays best in small, grabbed moments of messy family life. It’s not a totally convincing package – it’s too slick, too shouty and everyone’s a bit too good-looking to convince us fully that we’ve been plunged into the margins of modern America (a shiny-toothed Aaron Paul steps into the frame halfway through as Deb’s new husband). But, this is a mature attempt to portray terrible pain and recovery, and to share the realistic rhythms of complicated lives. It also reminds us that Sienna Miller is a talent too often underrated – she’s in almost every frame of this quietly-moving story, and she pulls us through the film’s more melodramatic moments. 

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 11 October 2019
  • Duration:111 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Jake Scott
  • Screenwriter:Brad Ingelsby
  • Cast:
    • Christina Hendricks
    • Sienna Miller
    • Aaron Paul
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