In the year 2010, a group of guys in an isolated religious community raped women in their bedrooms. The women desire justice, but the authorities in this little society minimize the heinous sexual abuse perpetrated against them. Therefore, the women decided to collaborate in order to devise a solution.
Unable to read or write, the women bring in August (Ben Whishaw), the sole man there, to record their conversations because he is illiterate.
They consider three options: do nothing and continue living their usual lives, stay and battle the men, or leave the only world they know and never return. However, as the debate continues, they realize that they each have a different solution to their pressing safety and well-being worries.
In Women Talking, Ona (Rooney Mara), Salome (Claire Foy), Marche (Jessie Buckley), Scarface Janz (Frances McDormand), and others confront a peril that they have faced for too long. For some, the answer to this issue is straightforward.
However, they all approach their trauma differently. Some see retribution as the only option, while others see only an alternative life outside of this community. Others, meanwhile, see no path to vengeance and believe it is best to forgive the men and go on with their lives. As a result, their argument becomes more intense.
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These women are unaware of what the world beyond their community has to offer, but they are acutely aware of the oppressive misogyny within their bounds. They are required to remain silent and continue performing their tasks while dismissing the men’s behavior as “boys will be boys.”
August is a living example of the significance of education, but he is still an outsider in these discussions. He has obvious compassion for Ona and sincerely cares about the well-being of these ladies, but this argument is the one thing that has the potential to set them free.
The screenplay by Sarah Polley and Miriam Toews lays a major emphasis on character. Before they are confronted with this horrifying predicament, we learn nothing about the women of Women Talking.
The more they discuss the future, though, the greater our understanding of their deepest concerns, hopes, and dreams becomes. The decision they make will affect everyone in their lives, including the men they continue to hold dear. But may innocent men also commit such crimes?
Even if the story takes place in 2010, Polley isolates the viewer in this world’s notion of time. This is partially a result of the religious community’s perspective on women as depicted in the plot, as well as Luc Montpellier’s appropriately dismal photography.
The location’s lush vegetation has lost its color, aptly mimicking how these women’s homes have lost their sparkle. The costumes designed by Quita Alfred further immerse the audience in this time-frozen, isolating community.
Women Talking is solidly rooted in a single place for most of its running period. However, the screenplay by Polley and Toews does not lack an ounce of its capacity to enthrall with its potent dialogue and excellent ensemble performances.
Mara is completely credible, and McDormand does more in a single gaze than most actors do in a whole film. No one is overshadowed, but the strongest performances are those of the supporting cast.
Foy is unquestionably outstanding, delivering a dazzling monologue that fully represents her dynamic personality. Buckley is amazing, discovering peaks and valleys in large and tiny moments. Whishaw is mesmerizing despite playing a supporting role in the majority of the film.
The film’s language is intelligent and reflective, however, it is segmented in an artificial manner. The dialogues do not flow easily from one to the next since they are separated by distinct breaks that indicate to the audience that the topic has been exhausted.
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This allows Polley to capture stunning reaction shots from her performers, although at the cost of stilted dialogue. Furthermore, some of these conversations and the viewpoints of individuals having them are interrupted, begging for more opportunities to speak.
Nonetheless, there is much to appreciate here. Women Talking is a compelling drama featuring some of the year’s finest acting.
It occasionally appears more like a stage play on the big screen, but Polley transforms a straightforward plot into a stirring exhibition of human development and social critique.