Film Review

Women Talking

todayMarch 9, 2023 93

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By Gareth Jones

For fans of intense, thought-provoking films as well as fantastic performances by women, and Sarah Polley

I think it is safe to say that after four brilliant directed films, Sarah Polley is one of the best directors working today, regardless of her gender. However, her gender and perspective are vitally important to all of her work.  She started out as an actor in one of my all time favorite films, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Terry Gilliam.  Her performance in that is startling for a first time actor and sadly we have found out that she did not have to fake her fear as Gilliam did put her in some very dangerous situations.  Her memories of that set have led to my own evaluation of Gilliam and also the role of the director.  This and other experiences that Polley had as an actor has greatly informed her directorial work and also her eventual decision to move into that realm and leave acting behind. 

Women Talking is an adaptation of a novel which in turn is based on the true story of a group of Mennonite women in Bolivia and how after a series of brutal drug induced rapes had men arrested from their community.  Polley who co-wrote the script with the author Miriam Toews adapted the story to the screen in an astonishing way.  It really is a film that consists of a series of scenes of the women leaders discussing what they should do after the men have been arrested, stay or leave.  Intersected with these scenes is rich cinematography that gives depth and makes it feel like a film versus a play.  They also moved the story from Bolivia to a more generic religious society to make it more universal.  This is unfortunate as it does add an additional level of removal from the brave women in Bolivia and their story.  However, the film is worthy of all the recognition and attention at the awards ceremonies.  The performances from Rooney Mara, Judith Ivey, and the one male actor Ben Whishaw all merit accolades.  In this month of celebration of women, I celebrate Sarah Polley for all of her artistic accomplishments and recognize her as a shining example of why Hollywood and the film world need to continue to give opportunities to women to direct and tell stories from their perspectives.  Men need to listen to the women talking.

Streaming ow on Amazon Prime

Written by: Gareth Jones

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