Women Talking (2022)

women talking poster 2022 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting ideas, good cast, good looking

Feels more like a stage play much of the movie which isn't always a good thing

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Women Talking

Studio: Hear/Say Productions/Plan B Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 2, 2022 (Telluride Film Festival)/December 23, 2023 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

women talking singing scene cast

These women talking…about all women’s problems

A group of Mennonite women have uncovered a secret.  While they have been accused of sinning and attacks that have left them beaten and often pregnant, they discover the men of the group have been tranquilizing and raping them.  Now, the men have been arrested but intend to return to colony, and the women must decide what to do.  A group of the colony’s women have gathered and with a colony man named August (Ben Whishaw) writing for them, and a decision must be made…do nothing…stay and fight…leave.

Directed by Sarah Polley (who adapted the screenplay), Women Talking is a drama.  The film is an adaptation of the 2018 Miriam Toews novel which in turn is a loose adaptation of the true-story of the Manitoba Mennonite colony in Bolivia which occurred from 2005 to 2009.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay with a nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

women talking ben whishaw

I’m just here to write…

When nominations for Oscars come out, there is always those films that you can’t get excited about seeing.  The 95th Academy Awards had a few of these film, and Women Talking was one of those movies.  Women Talking is a good film, but I still can’t “enjoy” the film simply because of the type of film it is.

The film does a great job raising questions and debating these questions.  They are questions that are not only intrinsic to the story occurring on films, but also to women in general.  What can be forgiven?  Can you leave?  Should you fight?  They are well debated and the script is smart and strong.  The issue I do have is that the film feels like an adaptation.  The dialogue doesn’t entirely feel natural.  There is an alienation factor in that these women are raised in a society that they can’t read, but still have a high-level vocabulary to debate and discuss issues…it is cruel, but it sometimes feel that the women would be so beaten down that neglected that they purposely kept under-educated to not make decisions.

women talking salome claire foy

Salome is taking no prisoners

The performances are top notch.  All the women in the movie give their all and it is unfortunate that they are overshadowed by Ben Whitshaw (who is good), but as the outsider, he is more noticed (which also could be argued is the case for many women in film).  The core leaders Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Claire Foy are teamed with veteran actors (like Frances McDormand), and the movie benefits from multiple viewings to see the nuances of the actors.

The movie also takes a very stage look by taking place in the barn where the characters find safe haven.  The movie uses a lot of natural light but also muted colors and pallets that Polley said were chosen to give it a timeless feel.  The movie also has an ambiguous location.  You could assume it is anywhere where Mennonite colonies exist (the characters speak English), but a reference to the Southern Cross implies that it is a South America location.

women talking rooney mara ona

Y’all don’t come back…ye hear?

Women Talking is a better parable than a story driven movie.  The events in the movie have you expecting even worse for the characters, but like a lot of women in similar situations, death and murder isn’t always the result…those are the worst case scenarios you hear about.  More often, women are more like the characters…trapped in bad situations like prisoners and unable to talk.  Polley does a great job giving the women a voice.

Related Links:

The 95th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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