Review Women Talking – Review on FilmTotaal

Director: Sarah Polley | Script: Sarah Polley | Cast: Rooney Mara (Ona), Claire Foy (Salome), Jessie Buckley (Mariche), Frances McDormand (Scarface Janz), Judith Ivey (Agata), Sheila McCarthy (Greta), Ben Whishaw (August), ea | Time to play: 104 minutes | Year: 2022

Sarah Polley’s fourth feature film as a director revolves, as the title suggests, about a group of women who have something to discuss. The setting and decoration suggest that we are facing a scene from the past. Nothing could be further from the truth, unless you want to call the year 2010 the past. The women have something to decide and two days to reach a verdict. Much depends on your decision.

Polley doesn’t exactly make it easy on the viewer with his film adaptation of Miriam Toews’ book, even calling it extremely awkward. It is not easy to pin down exactly what is happening and what kind of religious community the women belong to. The ladies are part of a Christian faith community that operates far from the modern world. For those who want to know exactly: it is about the Mennonites: a Mennonite movement with Dutch roots.

That is why names like Mariche, Miep, Autje and Nietje arise. The ladies are alone for two days, because the men have gone to the big city because of a group of fellow believers who have been arrested there. The colony has learned that women have been sedated and raped within their ranks. The ladies have three options: leave everything as it is, run away, or stay and fight.

It quickly goes between the last two options and there is a lot of discussion involved. The only man among them is the teacher August, who serves as a scorer. Women are illiterate and therefore even more dependent on the men in their community. The debate results in long, difficult but very fascinating scenes, in which the question is how the women will shape their silent protest.

Doing nothing is clearly not an option. Obvious parallels can be drawn with all kinds of social debates and the position of women in society. The oppressive environment of The Handmaid’s Tale it is never achieved, despite the similarities between Toews’s book and the work of Margaret Atwood. However, Atwood’s extreme and horror practices are not necessary to make it clear that the stakes are high for women.

Polley deals out lurid jabs. Not only when the traces of the rape are revealed, but also because of the fear of the unknown in one of the elderly women. It’s a shame, but certainly a debt to the book, that Frances McDormand’s character is quickly sidelined and doesn’t really play a role for the rest of the film.

women talking is a drama that is hard to swallow, whose plot is based on a real incident within a similar religious community in Bolivia. There are so many subtleties behind women’s interactions and rituals that you don’t fully understand everything. That does underscore the closure of such communes, but it also feels somewhat unsatisfying.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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