The Reel Review
Tilda Cobham-Hervey stars in this biopic about Helen Reddy, the Australian-born singer/songwriter whose iconic song “I Am Woman” became the anthem of the women’s rights movement in the 1970s – a song that remains iconic of the movement even today, nearly 50 years later.
Australian-born Cobham-Hervey (Hotel Mumbai) is radiant in capturing the spirit of the likable Reddy in a well done, straightforward narrative, despite a couple of clunky lip synchs and some dramatic moments that verge on the absurd – in particular, the over the top drug scenes featuring Evan Peters (American Horror Story) as Reddy’s former husband and manager Jeff Wald.
More touching are the moments featuring Reddy’s relationship with her children and her friendship with music journalist Lilian Roxon, played to perfection by Danielle Macdonald (Dumplin’, Patti Cake$). And that inspiring finale is an emotional crowd pleaser, in the vein of 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The hallmark of a good biopic is when it has you eagerly Googling online for more info about its subjects, and to that effort, this fitting tribute nails it beautifully.
• Helen Reddy, who had suffered from dementia for the last five years of her life, died in Los Angeles on September 29, 2020. She was 78. She, ex-husband Wald and their two adult children attended a special private screening of the film prior to its release, with director Unjoo Moon reporting that Reddy sang along with the songs in the film with tears in her eyes.
• Australian pop star Chelsea Cullen won the 2020 ARIA Award on November 25th for her impressive vocals in I Am Woman.
• Jeff Wald, who was widely known in the industry for his massive cocaine habit during his marriage to Reddy, currently lives a much calmer life of sobriety in Los Angeles, where he runs a company that produces large coffee table books on the music industry.