Directed by Unjoo Moon, and with a screenplay by Emma Jensen, the film is a story of fearless ambition and passion, of a woman who smashed through the patriarchal norms of her time to become the international singing superstar she always dreamed of being.
Helen Reddy is one of the most successful performing artists ever to emerge from Australia. A Grammy-award winning recording artist, she had 15 Top 40 singles in the US and went on to star in major films and stage productions as well as performing live to stadium audiences around the globe.
1966. Reddy (Tilda Cobham-Hervey, 52 Tuesdays, Girl Asleep) arrives in New York with her three-year-old daughter, a suitcase and $230 in her pocket. Helen had been told she had won a recording contract, but the record company promptly dashes her hopes by telling her it has enough female stars and suggests she has fun in New York before returning home to Australia.
Helen, without a visa, decides to stay in New York anyway and pursue a singing career, struggling to make ends meet and provide for her daughter. There she befriends legendary rock journalist Lillian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald, Bird Box), who becomes her closest confident, and inspires her to write and sing the iconic song I Am Woman which becomes the anthem for the second wave feminist movement and galvanises a generation of women to fight for change.
She also meets Jeff Wald (Evan Peters, American Horror Story), a young aspiring talent manager who becomes her agent and husband. Jeff helps her get to the top, but he also suffers from a drug addiction, which gradually turns their relationship toxic.
Caught in the treadmill of fame and dependent on Jeff to manage her professional life, Helen finds the strength to take control of her own career and keep pursuing her dreams.
“When I started this journey I could never have predicted that a new wave of women’s marches would once again rise up around the world and I certainly could not have foreseen the #MeToo campaign that would bring the conversation of sexism powerfully back into focus,” said Director, Unjoo Moon.
“What started as a beautiful, touching biopic about the queen of “housewife rock” and the music that captured the spirit of an era, has now become even more poignant and deeply relevant to a whole new generation of people.”
“Six years ago during an awards season event in Los Angeles I arrived at my table and noticed a woman sitting quietly on the other side. She looked familiar, but I wasn’t entirely sure why.”
“The moment I realized who she was, I immediately swapped seats so that I could sit next to her because out of everyone in that star-studded Hollywood ballroom, Helen Reddy was the one person I wanted to meet,” said Moon.
Image: Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Helen Reddy in I Am Woman – courtesy of STAN