The movie “American Woman” is nothing about a typical Hollywood formula with a beginning, followed by a huge conflict in the middle and then a conclusion. This film is about the real life desperation and misery of a divorced woman Debra, played extremely well by Sienna Miller, in her late 30’s. She has a teenage daughter who is also a single mother and they both live with her. The relentless harsh reality of the garbage house Debra lives in across the street from her sister, played by Christina Hendricks and her husband, their children and her mother, played by Amy Madigan is at times extremely overwhelming to see, knowing that so many millions of Americans live like this in this country.
The most difficult parts of this story to watch, is the desperation of Debra, who is forced to take demeaning low paying jobs and live with an abusive boyfriend because she thinks she has no choice but to put up with his constant physical and emotional abuse – because she does not have enough money to walk away. Depicting real life is where this story hits home in the most impressive way. Just because a human being has suffered and deserves for their luck to change – if for no other reason than the law of averages – does not mean that this will actually happen. This is real life, not a Hollywood formula happy ending and that is the main reason why this film stands out.
Much of this story plays like a roller coaster throughout with extreme highs and lows and I agree with all the critics who are saying that this is Sienna Miller’s best performance in her career. She is definitely deserving of an Academy Award nomination, even though this movie has not been released at the end of this year.
There is another story within this movie about Debra’s daughter, that I would not reveal in this review, but it does involve another possible harsh reality of living in a poor or lower middle class neighborhood.
This movie has outstanding acting with all the actors involved, including Aaron Paul who plays one of Debra’s boyfriends.
What I did not like in this movie throughout was the constant chain smoking of Sienna Miller and once again, this happens because of Tobacco companies funding the production of too many movies, even after decades of knowing that smoking will kill you. I hope to one day see this ongoing disgusting practice of money over health, finally end.
Despite this depressing story, and tough life reality of American Woman, I highly recommend it and agree with the Rotten Tomatoes rating of 81%.