Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Women Talking is based on true events that occurred in the Manitoba Colony in Bolivia in 2010.
The Production: 4.5/5
Women in a remote Mennonite colony find that a group of men in their community have been using animal tranquilizer to subdue them and rape them in their sleep. Their complaints are attributed to wild imagination and hysteria, until the wrongdoers are caught in the act. The elders of the religious enclave do not have any easy solution, other than to bring in outsiders to enforce the law.
If any of this sounds far fetched, the fact is that this actually happened in the Manitoba Colony in Bolivia in 2010. Author Miriam Toews used these events as the basis for her acclaimed book published in 2018, Women Talking.
In the aftermath of the arrests, the women in the community are given 2 days to forgive before the men return from jail. If they do not forgive, they are told, they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the ultimate penalty for a devout follower, but it does not sit well with the women. They convene a meeting in a barn for 2 days as they discuss and consider their options: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave their community forever.
What follows is a dialogue among the characters as their faith and their belief systems are challenged by the evil done to them. Women in this community are not allowed to attend school or vote, so the referendum that they hold among themselves regarding which of the 3 options to follow is the first time that they have ever been able to exercise decision making in the form of voting.
Women Talking is directed by Sarah Polley(Road to Avonlea, Away From Her) and also wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Miriam Toews. The film is heavy with dialogue but the engaging performances and dynamic camera movements do not make it seem static like a typical stage play adapted to the screen. The excellent cast includes Rooney Mara(The Social Network), Claire Foy(The Crown), Jessie Buckley(The Lost Daughter), Judith Ivey(Designing Women), and Frances McDormand(Fargo, Olive Kitteridge). The characters are imbued with distinct personalities, which lends a depth to the proceedings that make it more than just an allegory for societal evolution.
Women Talking deals with issues of faith, social norms, betrayal, forgiveness, vengeance, and allegory. The novel will inevitably be adapted to the stage, assuming this has not already happened. Women Talking succeeds in being both thought provoking and entertaining.
3D Rating: NA
Women Talking appears on blu-ray in its original 2.76:1 screen aspect ratio. Colors are subdued to reflect the dramatic tone, and much of the film is dark, with time spent in the barn. Blacks are solid with no apparent black crush and good shadow detail. There are no video artifacts evident on this fine transfer.
Women Talking is presented in English in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The audio is good but not exceptional, with most audio emanating from the front and center channels, and some ambient audio without pronounced directional sounds.
Special Features: 0/5
There are no special features on this edition. I predict that this may be licensed to Criterion in the near future and include a number of special features. A DVD and paper insert for digital copy are also included.
Women Talking is an intriguing and thought provoking film based on true events. The video and audio presentation seem flawless if not exceptional. Special features are lacking, but may be included on a future release. Women Talking is the kind of film that entertains and invites you to think, and this film lends itself to talking about its themes and ideas with other members of the audience.
Other New Releases You May Like
Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.