Picks of the Week is Women and Hollywood’s newest resource. We are often asked for recommendations, so each week we’ll spotlight the women-driven and women-made projects—movies, series, VOD releases and more—that we’re most excited about. Sign up for the Women and Hollywood newsletter at womenandhollywood.com to get each week’s pick delivered to your inbox.
This Week’s Pick: “I Am the Night” Miniseries
For “Wonder Woman” fans, “I Am the Night” is a nice holdover until the blockbuster’s sequel lands in summer 2020, as director Patty Jenkins reunites with stars Chris Pine and Connie Nielsen. For everyone else, this six-episode TNT miniseries is an entertaining, thrilling blend of LA noir and bildungsroman.
Inspired by the life of Fauna Hodel and set in 1965, “I Am the Night” is about Pat (India Eisley), a young woman who finds out she’s adopted and sets out to find her birth mother. Her biological grandfather is Dr. George Hodel (Jefferson Mays), a rich, well-regarded gynecologist with some very dark secrets. In fact, journalist Jay Singletary (Pine) torpedoed his career by reporting on Hodel’s alleged misdeeds. Jay—now working the sleazy stringer circuit to pay the bills—eventually teams up with Pat, aka Fauna, to find out the truth about her family.
As intriguing as the central mystery in “I Am the Night” is, Pat’s struggle with her own identity makes the show. She’s a light-skinned mixed-race girl being raised by a black single mother (Golden Brooks) in a small Nevada town. Like the other black citizens, she is routinely mistreated and harassed. But, for those who don’t know her, Pat passes for white. Things get even more complicated when Pat realizes she’s adopted and was born Fauna Hodel. Her birth certificate says her mother is white and her father is black. And that’s just the beginning of her journey. Each episode, it seems, Fauna discovers something new about herself.
“I Am the Night,” therefore, is the story of Fauna finding out who she really is. Hers is an extremely specific experience, of course, but it’s also recognizable to anyone who wrestled with their own sense of self as a teenager. Similar to her work in “Wonder Woman,” Jenkins—who directed three episodes and exec produces—gives her protagonist the space and screen time to pursue the truth about herself, process it and choose the best way to move forward. (Rachel Montpelier)
“I Am the Night” premieres on TNT January 28 at 9pm EST.