Title: Women Talking

Year: 2022

Genre: Drama |

Runtime: 104 min

Director: Sarah Polley

Starring: Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand, Claire Foy


A young woman sleeps alone, in bed. There are visible bruises and wounds on her hips and upper inner thighs—injuries sustained through rape. In 2010, the women and girls of an unnamed, isolated Mennonite colony discovered that the men have been using cow tranquilizers to subdue and rape them. The attackers are arrested and imprisoned in a nearby city. Most of the men of the colony travel to oversee the bail, leaving the women by themselves for two days to determine how they will proceed. They hold a referendum to decide whether to stay and do nothing, stay and fight, or leave.


In Women Talking, Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley assembles three leading actresses that have dominated cinema for years now. Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand, and Claire Foy. They can deliver powerful performances when given the right role. What’s demonstrated is the struggle of will. Convince a group of dominant women inside a colony where the female inhabitants have been attacked by the men through rape. The whole film center around a 90-minute dialogue about whether the group of women should stay or go. This follows a young narrator describing her thoughts and plans. 

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August, played by Ben Whishaw, is the only male in the group who matters. Rooney Mara plays Ona, a thinker who argues slowly for her sake. She says that they should stay. Claire Foy, as Salome, has a sturdy and aggressive tone for the group’s sake. McDormand takes on a leading role. Here’s where Mara is brilliant as a calm and intelligent character.

The exposition is overwhelming, with the constant talking. It’s not an impressive film as it intercuts between women talking and flashback-dumping info-scenes. It is a film with just women talking. It’s a drama for sure. The conflict is not near interesting as it is told and not shown. There are some interesting characters for sure but not enough to inspire. The pace is slow. And the color correction where it is toned down with the color. It would be better if it was black and white so we didn’t need the migraine. 

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The editing is chunky, the music forgettable and the direction seems distracted from the overall issue. The fact is the performance is the golden goose in this group session of a film but it ain’t what sells this film. Given the serious subject, intimate cinematopgray, and fine performance, it’s harrowing to see it thrown away through a dull dialogue cascade.


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