WOMEN TALKING – A Review By Gadi Elkon

Based on Miriam Toews eye-opening best-selling novel, WOMEN TALKING is the film you must see.  Here is Gadi Elkon’s full review of Sarah Polley’s award-worthy film.

Do nothing. Stay and fight. Or leave.

Women Talking follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

Measuring the significance of a film can be difficult.  You need time and reflection to understand the impact of a film on a society or at least a community.  Sarah Polley’s riveting feature, WOMEN TALKING, has that ability to be not only a film of entertainment and enlightenment but can be truly inspirational.  The tremendous amount of emotional weight that is levied by this film to its hunger audience is palatable.

What is fascinating is how a film of a bunch of a women arguing in a barn can be consider groundbreaking.  Multiple generations of acting talent deliver some of the most thoughtful and heartbreaking responses to fear and violence captured on screen.  Polley’s tremendous cast highlights the ingenuity, intelligence and insightful nature of these isolated women.  Even with the iron fist of religion weighing down these women’s capacity for survival they perceive a new hope through change.  The film holds as much a rallying cry element as films like Spartacus, Gladiator or Shawshank Redemption.  As we yearned for Andy Dufresne to will himself through 5 football fields of shit to find freedom we pray and believe this group of women will escape or end the violence from their oppressors.  Instead of a evil warden though, these women are talking about their husbands, their brothers and their sons.

Ben Whishaw’s amazing performance is the one bright example of the ally out in the real world.  Granted Ben’s character August represents more than a lost love interest but rather a segment of society wanting and willing to sacrifice for a greater good.  The split of these women from the only thing they know is the big metaphor Polley looks to reflect on women and men in the real world.  If films can cause discussion and even revolutions this is a film in that ilk.  The amazing talented assembled highlights the importance of this battle for womanhood.

Lastly, I’ll say that Women Talking is profound and extremely moving.  It is also a rather intimate and unique view of the many pitfalls women face no matter where and when they have lived.  Even an argument of being in a MODERN world holds no security or hope of independent thought for some persecuted women.  Don’t let the intimacy of this film seem like it is only about this small group of American women.  Women Talking holds truths that are tragically universal.

Make a choice.  You either wait for time to tell you what to do, you decide to fight now or you look to leave for the future.

Stay.  Fight.  or LEAVE.  Women are doing more than just talking about this choice.



Directed by: Sarah Polley

Written by: Sarah Polley screenplay based on Novel by Miriam Toews

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 5 Stars

Running Time: 1hr 44min


Release:  Select Theaters with Wide Release January 20th

Starring: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, with Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

(l-r.) Michelle McLeod stars as Mejal, Sheila McCarthy as Greta,
Liv McNeil as Neitje, Jessie Buckley as Mariche, Claire Foy as Salome, Kate Hallett as Autje, Rooney Mara as Ona and Judith Ivey as Agata in director Sarah Polley’s film,
An Orion Pictures Release
Photo credit: Michael Gibson
© 2022 Orion Releasing LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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