Women Talking movie review (2022)
Women Talking presents a challenging viewing experience as it addresses the trauma and horrifying circumstances endured by a religious community of women. These women have taken it upon themselves to safeguard against the terrors inflicted by the men within their community. This community is one where fathers rape their daughters and brothers rape their sisters. However, when a man attempts to harm a young girl, he is met with the mother’s wrath. The film derives its strength from exceptional performances, particularly from actors such as Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara. Their involvement not only signifies a casting triumph but also a delight for the audiences, “Women Talking” is a powerful cinematic work that delves into contemporary challenges faced by women. It stands as a relevant and thought-provoking piece, shedding light on the horrors experienced by women within a conservative community.
This drama is verbose, attempting to encompass a range of topics such as activism, gender, and religious faith all at once. Director Sarah Polley employs a remarkable approach by utilising subdued colours to effectively convey the film’s sad and sombre mood. If you’re seeking an action-packed experience, this film may leave you disappointed. However, if intense drama is your preference, this film, enriched by powerful performances, will thoroughly satisfy you. The dialogues will provoke thought and the film’s dark plot will stir up disturbance within you.
The film opens with Ona (Rooney Mara), who is in deep pain upon waking up and discovering bruises on her thighs, hinting at a rape incident. Although the film refrains from explicitly stating the setting or the community’s name, all indications strongly suggest the Mennonite community. The women of this community have recently uncovered the disturbing truth that the men have been using cow tranquilisers to drug and rape them over an extended period. When Salome (Claire Foy) takes action against one of the men from the community who attempted to assault her young daughter, the perpetrator is apprehended along with other assailants. After the other men are bailed out by members of the community, they return to the colony and present the women with an ultimatum: either grant forgiveness and continue as part of the colony, or depart from the community and thereby forfeit entry to the kingdom of heaven. Subsequently, the women of the colony convene to deliberate whether they should fight or leave. They weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option, with August (Ben Whishaw) assigned the responsibility of documenting the meeting’s minutes.
In recent memory, it’s challenging to come across a similar women-centric film that boasts such a stellar cast. Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara have all done justice to their respective roles, proficiently carrying the film on their shoulders. Salome (Claire Foy) and Mariche’s (Jessie Buckley) frustration with the power imbalance within the community feels incredibly authentic and sincere. Ona (Rooney Mara), on the other hand, exudes a calming influence and serves as the voice of reason. Engaging an audience in a dialogue-driven film is undoubtedly difficult, but the performers have given their best to ensure that moments of dullness are few and far between. Notably, Frances McDormand makes a brief appearance in the film, lasting only two minutes, which may disappoint fans of the Oscar winner. However, despite the presence of such dynamic performers, it’s a male actor—Ben Whishaw—who garners the most praise. In the role of August, Ben skillfully portrays an exceedingly complex character with ease. The sorrow and trauma of his past are vividly etched across his face and mannerisms, a feat that only nuanced performers can achieve, and Ben executes it masterfully.
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