Sienna Miller has never been better than in this drama taking us inside the world of an impoverished woman trying to get by after her adult daughter goes missing, leaving her to take care of her grandson
After his debut misstep 20 years ago – the utterly forgettable Plunkett & Macleane – Jake Scott proves he can do quite a bit better.
Set in rural Pennsylvania, American Woman follows Deb Callahan (a never better Sienna Miller), whose life is upended when her teenage daughter disappears. With no answers forthcoming, Deb is left to raise her grandson and go on as best she can.
Scott’s third feature – which comes nine years after his last, the solid but little-seen Welcome to the Rileys – is comfortable with taking its time, slowly sketching in the details of one family’s complicated inner dynamics. We observe Miller, Christina Hendricks (as Deb’s sister) and Amy Madigan (as her mother) as they bristle and love and shout at each other, sometimes shifting between these states in the space of a breath. The impoverished world Deb lives is much like those explored in Gone Baby Gone and Joy, albeit with a touch more humanity. What could easily come across as reductive is, in the hands of Miller, nuanced, subtle and compelling.
Released 11 Oct by Signature Entertainment; certificate 15