Just Like a Woman Peddles Feminist Empowerment With One-Note Didacticism


A multicultural mini–Thelma and Louise but far duller than that description implies, Just Like a Woman peddles feminist empowerment with one-note didacticism. In a world full of men who are either unfaithful, unsupportive, or simply predatory scumbags, Marilyn (Sienna Miller) and Mona (Golshifteh Farahani) abandon Chicago for the open road, Marilyn having lost her job and been betrayed by her deadbeat husband, and Mona wanted by the cops for having accidentally killed the orthodox mother-in-law who hated her for being infertile. On a journey to Santa Fe where Marilyn plans to audition for a belly-dancing troupe, the two shake their hips for cash at local dives while dealing with the same types of intolerant creeps they left behind at home. Director Rachid Bouchareb’s film vainly tries to offset its all-men-are-dogs message by having its protagonists encounter a few helpful fellows. Yet there’s no complication to the proceedings, just one attractively shot scene after another in which Marilyn and Mona find strength and resolve through joint opposition to the rampant sexism (and anti-Muslim bigotry) that greets them at every turn—as well as via bouts of bikinied sunbathing and swimming in which the camera gawks at its leading ladies just the way the cretinous guy villains would.