With the right movie, difficult conversations can be held in a way that an entire audience can relate to. Writer/director Sarah Polley has done just that in her latest film, WOMEN TALKING, which invites viewers to take part in very hard conversations. By the time the movie has ended, there’s bound to be plenty of chatter surrounding the narrative told. Such conversation pieces make for almost assured must-see filmmaking, so everyone can properly discuss what happens.
The stakes are life and death, and everyone has their say in the grand scheme of things. Now that the film has had its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, the world knows a little more about this blazing dramatic story. Here are some of the reasons you’re going to be hearing people discussing WOMEN TALKING for some time in the months to come.
An Intriguing Look at Timely Issues
Based on Miriam Towes’ 2018 novel, WOMEN TALKING focuses on an isolated religious community in turmoil. A consistent pattern of sexual abuse has almost the entire population of women assembled to discuss the matter that holds court throughout Towes’ story and Polley’s screen adaptation. One question is discussed thoroughly by the women of this secluded commune: how to handle this continued cycle of abuse.
Three options are presented, and through the parsing out of this discussion, WOMEN TALKING manages to tackle issues involving women’s rights, domestic abuse, and moral judgment at large. Though in the way that Sarah Polley tackles this subject, one could apply this movie’s conversation-based approach to pretty much any social issue that gets people talking. Throughout the stories that unfold in WOMEN TALKING, tales both horrific and amusing are told. As the women of this community engage in every new aspect of their discussion, the texture of the film’s moral arguments only get richer, and more complicated. Especially thanks to Sarah Polley assembling an impressive assortment of actors to take on the task.
Claire Foy and Jesse Buckley’s Extraordinary Performances
An all-star cast is present to play a part in the discussion that WOMEN TALKING centers its action around. Academy Award® winner Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, and Ben Whishaw are all a part of the stellar cast, who are confined for the most part to one setting. This high-pressure debate is carried by their star power, as the proceedings twist and turn on a constant basis.
Even in that impressive lineup, it’s the performances of Academy Award nominees Claire Foy and Jesse Buckley that steal the show in WOMAN TALKING. Respectively playing the characters of Salome Friesen and Mariche Loewen, Foy and Buckley represent two of the members in the community who have had the hardest time dealing with the cycle of abuse. Jesse Buckley’s Mariche is a stern, but forceful participant who wavers between both sides of the issue. It’s never easy for her, and Buckley’s intensity suggests that point all throughout WOMEN TALKING. Meanwhile, Claire Foy is absolutely incendiary as Salome, especially when she gets to deliver an impassioned speech on her viewpoint.
As part of the larger ensemble, Claire Foy and Jesse Buckley’s performances in WOMEN TALKING only further highlight the level of talent present in this film. Acting as both stand outs and supporting figures, their strengths show just how everyone in the cast gets a moment to shine, in service of the entire picture.
Intensely Dramatic, and Outstandingly Human
WOMEN TALKING isn’t an easy movie to watch, as it handles a very complicated matter. However, the intensely dramatic, yet outstandingly human way this film tackles its core narrative is what makes it so compelling to witness. Even in what may seem like the most disagreeable sentiments expressed in the overall argument, there’s a level of approachability that, at the very least, allows you to see why these characters would feel how they do. Tour de force performances, as well as Sarah Polley’s astute writing and directing, are the pillars that WOMEN TALKING is propped up by. The title perfectly suggests that, indeed, most of the real “action” is women engaging in conversation. Presented in a way that constantly adds visual and verbal flare, the end result is always gripping.
Reminiscent of the classic film 12 ANGRY MEN, WOMEN TALKING is a story that should lead to some very important conversations of its own. More importantly, it should be seen as an opportunity to show just how powerful a movie can be, when it voices such stories in a truly cinematic way.
WOMEN TALKING will be in theatres, starting on December 2nd. That means it’ll arrive in the world just in time for the awards buzz to start kicking into high gear. With that in mind, you should be sure to keep an eye out for the announcement of when you’ll be able to buy your tickets to enjoy this film at an AMC Theatres location near you.