Women Talking

Date Shown

3rd April 2024

Women Talking (2022), an adaption of Miriam Toews’ bestseller by Canadian actor/director/screenwriter Sarah Polley.
Polley was a child actor on Canadian television before breaking into feature films, mostly left- field independents such as Hal Hartley’s (very odd!) No Such Thing (2001), or the strange Splice (2009) where human DNA is mixed with animal genes to create a human-animal hybrid. Both were commercially unsuccessful but are worth looking out for if you enjoy weird. Taking up directing greatly changed her critical acceptance, particularly Stories We Tell (2012), a documentary she wrote and directed, exploring her own family secrets. It received overwhelming critical approval and is judged to be included as one of the top 10 Canadian films of all time.
Sarah Polley employs a stellar cast for our April showing of Women Talking, with Francis McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara and Ben Whishaw standing out. This tale of abuse, but also solidarity, follows women in a remote Mennonite community often waking from sleep bruised and battered or even pregnant. Their religious leaders suggest it is God’s punishment for their sins. Slowly the truth becomes apparent and the women must decide whether to stay or leave. Despite their lack of formal education, they articulate universal big ideas of hope, fear, obedience but also fury. This isn’t a depressing film but a thoughtfull discourse on collectivity as the women, in a rousing final scene move towards their fate together. This is a powerful, intelligent film.

Polley’s direction is perfectly calibrated and precise, ‘with the flow of speech choreographed and delivered like a dance by her gifted cast’

Tricia Tuttle, London Film Festival 2022.

Audience Reactions

A: 30, B: 07, C: 04, D: 0, E: 0


A A brilliant film, superbly acted & scripted. A masterful exposition of the whole argument of how to live. (A)  Compelling (A)  Intense and riveting (A)    A different world! Still fighting for our rights to safety, faith & communication… Extreme! Believable. Many women on the production side, also (A)
Even though I’m outside the colony …I am still GUILTY (A)  Confronting but beautifully made (A)  Wonderfully moving story! (A)  AAA etc Acting – sensational like an Actors Studio master class. It just hit me; the carriage ride -> Slavery/Freedom (A) 
Women talking make sense. Amazing make-up + powerful drama, well understated + not too long! (A)  Fantastic – I am speechless an amazing fable. If only it could be true. (A) Riveting and sad – Great actors and acting. (A)  That was a good one! (how did they get away with not being followed?)(A) In the beginning, MAN created GOD; things went downhill after that (A) Very gripping dialogue, well acted. The drama of implied but not overt violence & the dilemma of the big decisions in life. (A)
Very powerful in a good way. They were even bound by the plaiting of their hair. I have to read the book. Brilliant acting. (A) Confronting – but the world needs more Augusts. (A) Powerful. A disturbing story that turned into hope for a better future (A) Stunning storytelling (A) OUTSTANDING (A) Compelling, uncomfortable, energising, powerful (A) Outstanding in every way (A)  What about Jacques Tati as an antidote! (A)

B:  Gripping (B) Women powerful but marred by American sentimentality in the Ben Wishaw character! (B)                                                       A sort of metaphor for ‘Battered Women’.  Pioneering spirit very evident. (B)    Superb, but maybe three endings too many (B)                         Excellent. A metaphor for oppressed and displaced people.(B)   Great acting, intriguing moral dilemma (B)  

C:   Man’s inhumanity to man. (C)      Difficult to take. (C)                                                                                                                                                                       

IMDB details

Women Talking | January 20, 2023 (Canada) 6.9


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Scarface Janz
Census Driver

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Countries: United StatesLanguages: English


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