Combustible Celluloid Review - Women Talking (2022), Sarah Polley, Miriam Toews, based on a novel by Miriam Toews, Sarah Polley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Frances McDormand, Sheila McCarthy, Judith Ivey, Liv McNeil, Michelle McLeod, Kate Hallett
Combustible Celluloid
 
Own it:
Book
With: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Frances McDormand, Sheila McCarthy, Judith Ivey, Liv McNeil, Michelle McLeod, Kate Hallett
Written by: Sarah Polley, Miriam Toews, based on a novel by Miriam Toews
Directed by: Sarah Polley
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content including sexual assault, bloody images, and some strong language
Running Time: 104
Date: 12/23/2022
IMDB

Women Talking (2022)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Speak and Ye Shall Find

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The only way we know that it's 2010 in Sarah Polley's Women Talking is that a census-taking truck (which plays The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" on loudspeakers) drives by the old barn where many women gather to talk. The women are members of an isolated religious community, dressed in old-fashioned garb. The men are away for a couple of days, and the women have decided that it's time to make a decision. For years, the men have been drugging and raping the women in the community. Even though the women cannot read or write, they now vote for the very first time, on one of three options: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave.

"Do nothing" loses, but the other two options are tied, so the women sit down in the barn's loft to debate. They are: Ona (Rooney Mara), Salome (Claire Foy), Mariche (Jessie Buckley), Greta (Sheila McCarthy), and Agata (Judith Ivey), as well as younger girls Nietje (Liv McNeil), Mejal (Michelle McLeod), and Autje (Kate Hallett). A man, August (Ben Whishaw), has been tasked with taking minutes. The conversation that follows is fierce, complicated, and crucial, all of it worth listening to.

But Polley is well aware of the trap of the "talky" movie, and conjures up a visual tapestry worthy of the material. She chooses a bleak, black-and-white-in-color scheme, nestled in a wide frame, indicating the struggle between confinement and freedom, between ignorance and knowledge, between fear and courage. She creates delicate rhythms. She offers lovely cutaways of the young girls making things with their hands while their elders talk. She leaves room for a sweet romance; August has a crush on Ona, who is pregnant and has no idea who the father is (i.e. who her rapist was). Not unlike 12 Angry Men, it's a deceptively simple movie that yields profound results. This time it's the women who are angry, and they have every right to be.

CD Universe
Hulu
TASCHEN
Movies Unlimtied
300x250