Just Like a Woman (2012)

two friends    one journey    no limits

French director Rachid Bouchareb, the man responsible for acclaimed historical flicks Days of Glory (2006) and Outside the Law (2010), tries his hand at an American production with Just Like a Woman, his first American-shot film.

Marilyn (Sienna Miller) is having a bad day, she gets fired from her job and walks in on her husband, Harvey (Jesse Bob Harper), sleeping with another woman; not knowing how to handle the situation, she quickly packs her bags and heads from Chicago to Santa Fe, in order to audition for a belly dancing gig. Along the way, she bumps into Mona (Golshifteh Farahani), an Egyptian immigrant who has also skipped town due to being responsible for the accidental death of her nasty mother-in-law (Chafia Boudraa). The two women decide to travel to Santa Fe together and form a unique bond as they venture across state.

Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani shaking it!
Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani shaking it!

This tale about female friendship and empowerment doesn’t really know where it’s heading: Is it a film about cultural differences? A thrilling Thelma & Louise (1991) style road trip? Or a dance flick? It works best when it’s exploring the cultural barrier between Mona and Marilyn with both Sienna Miller, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), and Golshifteh Farahani, About Elly (2009), giving convincing performances and sharing some great moments together on-screen. The dance scenes are also very well handled, sometimes revealing a little more about each character while managing to maintain the girl’s vulnerability. Unfortunately, all the male characters on show are portrayed as stereotypical macho men, they are unemployed, drunk, greedy and selfish, even the male private investigator who is looking for Mona is an arrogant fool, hurting some of the picture’s believability.

With vast shots of deserted landscapes and barren fields, Just Like a Woman also tries to be an exciting road-flick with its various clichés and threats failing to capture any real thrill or danger, once again illustrating that the feature works best when our leads are simply talking or sharing a quiet moment together, opposed to running from some kind of peril or trouble.

'Thelma & Louise' style road-trip pit stop!
‘Thelma & Louise’ style road-trip pit stop!

Alas, Just Like a Woman truly suffers in its finale, with its whimsical 84 minute running time, there appears to be no real resolution or sense of closure and satisfaction for the audience, instead things appear to be rushed after a ridiculous sequence involving a redneck family vacationing in an RV that ends the adventure for both the viewers and the women. Had more effort gone into the final act — and maybe a lengthier run-time — then this journey may have at least satisfied most patrons. While it’s not going to be remembered as anything but lackluster, Just Like a Woman is a trip worth taking for fans of Sienna Miller’s work; maybe one day she’ll be given a role that truly allows her to shine.

2.5 / 5 – Alright

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

Just Like a Woman is released through Madman Entertainment Australia