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Women Talking

Women Talking (2023)

Sarah Polley is a filmmaker that can best be described as maddening. I generally went into this film cold I might have seen the trailer and some of the still imagery so I thought this was going to be one type of film and was surprised that it was something else. This film is practically a stage production the vast majority of the film takes place in a barn with Women Talking. We leave the barn for short periods of time but often time it's very clunky and frankly unsatisfying. This is a clear choice from Polley who chooses to never show us the villains in the story. It's a good idea that could have been executed significantly better.

The other issue I had with the film is the pretense that these are uneducated women yet you don't really get that feeling from the performances and writings. With that said it's a good film it just could have been great. Rooney Mara plays completely against type to the point where I didn't even recognize her until the credits rolled. In the book the POV character is the one male in the story August (Ben Whishaw) an actor that I've never been a huge fan of. In the film he's merely a character with the POV switching to a younger daughter (Kate Hallet) it's an interesting choice that once again could have paid off significantly better in another film.

The basic plot of the film is women were being drugged and raped by men in this Amish(like) community. They are told they had 48 hours to forgive the men or they must stay and fight them...or leave to find another community. A selection of families are chosen as the deciders and the film is in essence a discussion piece. Polley does cut away from the action to show some community life scenes but it's in bits and pieces. Theirs very little actual momentum in the scenes and that's a choice.

If you enjoyed say Tree of Life you'd likely enjoy this as Polley tries to strip away most cinematic trappings and give us something unique. Her vision is both her greatest strength and the film's anchor because you do feel the runtime. When going into this film I would suggest being cautious and not seeing it at the end of the day cause it will put you to sleep. Some of you are really going to love this film, others will not. I admired it's choices more than I enjoyed them.