“Women Talking,” March 10, 2023 (2022), Amazon Prime. Writer/director Sarah Polley received the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for this one, and rightly so. It’s 2010 and the women in a relatively isolated rural religious community have learned a terrible thing about their lives. They have been systematically drugged, raped, impregnated, infected, lied to, and then chastised when they learned the ‘truth’ about what happened. They were not crazy. They were not visited by Satan. They were horribly abused. This film follows their attempts to collectively talk to one another and decide how to proceed. Should they stay or should they go? Can they forgive?
This is, in many ways, a film that posits the most extreme forms of abuse as a stand-in for male-female relations more broadly and the unstated and stated abuses our culture has constructed as the norm. A stellar, mostly female cast, crew and production (Francis McDormand, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Judith Ivey) give this Canadian production a very current voice. It is a rough, powerful, complex, difficult and thoughtful film.