Review: Deliberation amidst torment – ‘Women Talking’


Photo courtesy of IMDb.

Jesse Illanes, Contributor

“Women Talking” provides an excellent, chilling story based on actual events. In the year 2010, women in a secluded religious colony are sexually assaulted by men at night. As the offenders are taken to jail, the women discuss whether to stay and fight in the colony or leave and pursue a better life in an unknown and advanced world.

The film spares no expense portraying the real-life horrors people can cause in this situation, taking advantage of living away from modern civilization. As the title suggests, most of the film has women talking about their place in the colony and providing compelling arguments for staying or leaving.

The film was adapted from the 2018 novel “Women Talking” by Miriam Toews. It seems as if the avid moviegoer can tell it is an adaptation, as it doesn’t use the medium of film to its fullest points.

The film illustrates the pain and suffering of the women in performances from the leads, such as Rooney Mara as Ona, but it doesn’t portray the action or the fate of the women in a way that can only be told in a visual format. Perhaps this is a critique of dramas in general, as the film doesn’t exercise the creative freedom that the film format can give a story. This film lacks action and depth, but makes up for it with the script and storytelling.

The unfortunate oppression of women and its history is essential to highlight. How poorly women are treated can be used as a stepping stone in our society to create a better outlook on our community. With contemporary issues rising, it is alarming to think that the issues portrayed in “Women Talking” are still occurring as if society hasn’t progressed since the advent of modern technology. Even in the 2000s, we have chilling reminders of how women have suffered and are still suffering in some parts of the world.

The characters make heartbreaking deliberations throughout the film, which are echoed in current real-world issues. The performances from the actresses dispense a thought-provoking story with a contemporary interpretation on women’s rights.

“Women Talking” is an award-winning film, winning the 2023 Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, and is now available through digital and physical platforms.