Friday, January 27, 2023

Women Talking

Adapted from the novel of the same name by writer/director Sarah Polley, Women Talking takes us inside the conversations of a group of women (Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McLeod, and Kate Hallett) of a Mennonite colony who discover that several of the men have been drugging and raping the women at night and now must deal with the hard truth which has been revealed.

With the men involved in the attacks set to return to the colony, the women have been given the choice to either forgive the men or leave. The script focuses on those conversations with the only man involved being a recently-returned schoolteacher (Ben Whishaw) to take minutes for the meeting and record their decision. While obviously sweet on Mara's character, our teacher is, like the audience, merely witness to what will unfold.

Frances McDormand has a notable small role as a woman involved in the early conversations who removes herself as she doesn't want any part of discussion of leaving the colony, a view which will test her family before the end of the film. And it's that dialogue, from the comfort of religion and what is known (even the more vile and violent aspects) to the hope of a better tomorrow (albeit one venturing out into a scary and unknown world) where the film allows its ensemble to shine in conversations, discussions, and arguments that often end either in laughter or tears.

In terms of action, there isn't much for a movie whose title turns out to be quite apt. Tempers flare from time to time over the full-day's discussion, revealing the level of danger the women have been living under with men taking advantage of women of all ages including those barely out of diapers. Although some women argue for staying and fighting, the film focuses more on conflicting ides of either embracing their religious faith and offering forgiveness versus the nonviolent path of leaving everything they have ever known. While the choice they eventually make is the most obvious point of the tale, how they get to that decision and how nearly all of them end up united is something to behold.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Women Talking
  • IMDb: link

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