Women Talking, ooh, Women Talking! (Credit: Michael Gibson/©2022 Orion Releasing LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

Starring: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, Frances McDormand, Sheila McCarthy

Director: Sarah Polley

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Discussions of Abuse and Assault

Release Date: December 23, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Women Talking is indeed about a group of women who are talking. What are they talking about? Let’s dig into it.

These women are members of a Mennonite colony, which means that they’re rather insular and isolated by nature. And with their current set of circumstances, they’re even more isolated than usual. The men in their community have been severely abusing them, and it’s time to decide what to do about that. Their options are: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave and start anew. None of those choices are perfect, but they’ve reached a breaking point and something must be done. So these very opinionated women hash it out for as long as necessary until they can come to a solution that enough of them can go along with, while Ben Whishaw plays the one kindly man who stays behind to take the minutes.

What Made an Impression?: One of the first things you’ll notice about Women Talking – unless you’re too drowsy to notice – is how hypnotically desaturated the color palette is. It’s liable to lull you to sleep; I’ll leave it up to you all to decide whether or not that’s a positive. I will say that I felt transported, which is one of the best (if not THE best) ways to feel sleepy at a movie theater. I was whisked away into a mysterious land, where the secrets flowed forth like a geyser.

The other major element of Women Talking that is impossible to ignore is Hildur Guðnadóttir’s rustic score that I would label “thriller lite.” It captures the sense of needing to run away while you’re sitting still. There’s also a vibe to those plucking strings that can best be described as The Temptation of Comfort. Stillness and chaos, bound together.

And as a final note, I will register my surprise at how much of a peek we get at the outside world, particularly in the form of a census worker driving by and calling out for the members of the community to come and be counted for the 2010 population. These Mennonites mostly eschew modern amenities, so even knowing what year it is feels like a betrayal of their trust. But that beckoning, that frisson, is what this conflict is all about. The times they are a-changin’, no matter what year you decide to live in.

Women Talking is Recommended If You Like: 12 Angry Men, but if it were set in a barn

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Votes