Adelaide Film Festival 2020 – I Am Woman

Cinemas are back in action and Palace Nova have been doing what they can do get the Festival back into Festival state. With the Italian Film Festival just passed Palace Nova have now set their sights into delivering a festival whose heart is closer to home. The Adelaide Film Festival has long been a source of home-grown talent and stories. Displayed on the big screen, the Adelaide Film Festival showcases everything Australia has to offer.

From 14th of October to the 25th of October the Adelaide Film Festival will be showing a huge selection of Australian and International films and short films from a variety of creators. Kicking off the launch of the festival was a special screening of I Am Woman starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey who is also screening a short animation made by herself and Dev Patel called Roborovski during the Animation Shorts night on the 22nd of October.

I Am Woman follows the career of Helen Reddy. Reddy was considered one the greatest pop singers of all time. With her music inspiring generations of women during pivotal moments of the feminist movement. I Am Woman follows her career from its early days as a single mother trying to get by in the streets of New York to her rise to stardom alongside her manager Jeff Wald. Being a biopic the plot itself follows the monumental points in Reddy’s life as we would expect. What shines through in I Am Woman is the individual performances in each actor’s portrayal of their character.

Tilda has made an astounding statement in her portrayal of Helen Reddy. Not in a pronounced way but more so the intricacies and subtleties of Cobham-Hervey’s delivery. Mannerisms, attitude and demeanour. She presents Reddy in a calm and focused disposition. She has a deep fire within her but always keeps her cool temperament. At first I thought the character to be meek but soon found the her to be determined yet controlled. On the other side of the spectrum is Evan Peters as Jeff Wald. Reddy’s husband and manager. A character who is just as lively yet without the self-control. Personality run rampart. Together they demonstrate the energy that took them both to the top yet had them both crashing down.

The film selects its subject matter carefully. It focuses on Reddy’s career in music and her impact on the feminist movement. It doesn’t touch on her early life, her involvement in politics or her later career in theatre. In this way I Am Woman is more succinct. It can emphasise particular characters and points and highlight their impact on Reddy as a whole.

I Am Woman doesn’t step outside the bounds of a normal biopic however powerful performances and intricate characterisation makes this a step above for Australian biographical films.

I Am Woman is one of many films screening during the Adelaide Film Festival which starts on the 14 of October with the opening screening of 2067. See here for more details.

Words and Images by Jonathon Tonkin

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