Movie title: Women Talking (2022)
Director(s): Sarah Polley
Actor(s): Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Frances McDormand, Ben Whishaw
Powered by strong performances from all the actors involved, Women Talking follows the women of an isolated and ultraconservative religious community who must decide their futures, after a shattering revelation rocks their society. For years, the men have occasionally drugged and raped the women. With the truth revealed, they must reconcile their faith with their brutal reality. Well-crafted and effectively told, Women Talking serves as a both a plea and a parable.
Now, one of the male attackers has been caught, disrupting normal activities and allowing the women two days to decide how to respond to the situation. they must decide whether to forgive the men, stay and fight or leave the colony for good. When a vote proves inconclusive, a group of women gather in a hayloft to come to a final decision. One man, a shy schoolteacher named August (Ben Wishaw) has agreed to stay and take the minutes. Disagreement is rife among the women. The angry Salome (Claire Foy) openly advocates violence. Unsympathetic Mariche (Jesse Buckley) steadfastly argues for the “stay and fight” position, whereas Ona (Rooney Mara), who is currently pregnant with her rapist’s child, argues for a more nuanced solution. Older members like Agata (Judith Ivey) argue for a more traditional resolution. Others, like Scarface Janz (Frances McDormand), who want nothing to do with it.
Written and directed by Sarah Polley (who recently won an Oscar for her adapted screenplay), the Women Talking was adapted from a book by the same name, written by Miriam Toews. Never over-the-top, when the truth surfaces, it hits like a gut punch, as the women are forced to reconcile everything they believe in, with a dark truth.as they talk, realizations about their past, only deepen their pain and sense of guilt. While Women Talking can be a bit repetitive at times, strong and committed performances from the entire cast, make the film essential viewing.
Presented in its original 2.76:1 screen aspect ratio. Women Talking boasts a dark, subdued color palette to emphasis the dramatic tone. Most of the film is spent in a dark barn. Even the limited outdoor scenes lack any sunshine. When necessary, detail is effective. Blacks are appropriately inky and contrast is solid. Image is clean with no apparent artifacts.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. is effective for this dialogue heavy film. using largely the center and front channels, vocals are clean clear and concise throughout. There are no apparent audio issues.
English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles are available.
A DVD and digital copy of the film are included but there are no extras.