Film review: I Am Woman (15)
PUBLISHED: 09:30 01 October 2020
Helen Reddy biopic tries to pitch the singer as a feminist icon, but the cheesy daytime TV style makers her seem as middle of the road as her music
My memory of Helen Reddy, who died last week, was as a recorder of nice songs, a less edgy Karen Carpenter. According to this biopic, Reddy (Cobham-Hervey) was a little bit MOR and a little bit second-wave feminist, and her big hit was an unofficial anthem for the 70’s women’s lib movement.
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The film follows her rise to stardom and her slide away from it, through the years of her marriage to music biz promoter Jeff Wald (Peters.)
Cobham-Hervey has genuine star quality as Reddy, and Peters offers an energetic James Wood run out as Wald. But they can’t overcome the film’s cheesy, daytime TV style. According to this, Reddy was a principled goody-goody married to a man who snorted cocaine like he’d been told there was a pot of gold at the end of one of the lines.
The suggestion is that Reddy was something more than an easy listening chanteuse, but other than holding her own in the male-dominated business, the trail she blazes is an unremarkable one. The song was culturally significant but perhaps the attention paid to its lyricist and singer in Moon’s film is undue.
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