I Am Woman is based on Helen Reddy's autobiography and co-produced by her son, Jordan Sommers, so one presumes it's the version of her life she wants everyone to buy as "the official story". It's a shame then that so much of it is disingenuous and implausible. The film starts with Reddy arriving in New York in 1966, the winner of an Australian TV talent competition. Tilda Cobham-Hervey plays Reddy as a wide-eyed ingenue, as naive and innocent as they come. It doesn't quite square with Reddy already being a seasoned performer in Australia, or having the steely determination to drag her three-year-old on her journey to make it big in the USA. But this is the kind of cognitive dissonance I Am Woman just loves to generate, scene after scene. Reddy's romance and marriage to Jeff Wald is a prime example. Wald is a brash hustler from the Brox, initially imbued with a wafer-thin veneer of charm by Evan Peters. But there's really nothing to explain why Reddy hitches her wagon to such a cold-blooded operator, at least not beside his promises to make her a star. As their partnership evolves the film depicts Reddy literally not noticing Wald snorting cocaine in her presence. (She thought he just had the sniffles for several years?!). And later, when he's lost all their money and landed them in serious debt, we're again supposed to believe Reddy didn't notice anything until it all comes crashing down around her. Once again, she's the innocent ingenue, too naive for her own good. So much for "I am strong, I am invincible". Which brings us to The Song. In the movie Reddy has a moment of inspiration, writes the song and it's off to the Grammies. There's no mention of Ray Burton, the man who wrote the music and who also apparently shaped and refined the lyrics from Reddy's notes. The omission seems emblematic of the dilemma the runs through I Am Woman. On the one hand, Reddy is at the mercy of devious, self-serving men who refuse to give her a chance. On the other hand, she has to do it all alone. I Am Woman wants to have it both ways, even when it's clear that neither version makes any sense. In the one of film's silliest scenes the male executives of Mercury Records tell Reddy that male bands are now the thing and nobody is interested in solo female singers. Mercury Records, just so you know, was a label that established itself with hits by Patti Page, and whose 60s artists included Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. In fact, the 60s was actually a pretty good time to be a female singer, even one from as far off as Australia (Lana Cantrell, Judith Durham and Olivia Newton-John were all well on their way to solid careers by 66). So that burst of misogyny at Mercury makes little to no sense. We can be fairly sure they were as happy to exploit solo women as they were bands of man. It's far more likely that they just didn't see Reddy as a potential star or they couldn't stomach the obnoxious Wald. Then, and throughout, I Am Woman would have done better to tell a story we could actually believe.