Meeting “Deb” (stupendous Sienna Miller) we recognize her, barely thirty, peaked at fifteen, still flaunting all the traits that made her High School Prom Queen: vapidly blond, curvaceous, a football player’s fantasy; she has a seventeen-year-old daughter “Bridget” (Sky Ferreira), also an unwed mother, with an infant “Jesse”; Deb is a flighty, flimsy grocery cashier having an affair with a married man. Her effervescent naivety is irreparably punctured when Katherine goes missing; Miller’s depiction soars as she raises Jesse, attends classes, nurtures her relationship with her mother (finely-honed performance by Amy Madigan), sister (Christina Hendricks, profoundly empathetic), brother-in-law (perfectly poised Will Sasso), and husband (phenomenal Aaron Paul); writer Brad Ingelsby and director Jake Scott gave Miller immense license in creating one of the most complex, conflicted, unfiltered characters on 2019’s screen. Initially given short shrift, Deb matures remarkably into a “woman of substance”, ignores bitterness, embraces what is embraceable.
“American Woman’s” transitions could have been better defined; should have been more than a metaphor for single, working moms in middle America; but Sienna Miller’s tour de force characterization, transcends any impurities in the script or direction, leaving one breathless with admiration.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!