Review: The Woman King

5/5 Anchors

Tara Thompson-Glodich, Copy

“The Woman King,” a Gina Prince-Bythewood film with 94% rotten tomatoes, was released in 2022. Actress Viola Davis portrays Nanisca, a general in charge of training new soldiers, such as Nawi, the film’s protagonist, played by Thuso Mbedu. Nawi is introduced by refusing a proposal resulting in her being disowned and left with the Agojie–the army of women–where she meets Nanisca and starts her journey as a soldier.

I think the most intriguing aspect of the movie is its title, which is also one of the most brilliant aspects. It made me look through the lens of a king not having to be male or related to the monarchy but instead being just a title of a leader. When that title shifts to a new leader, it is extremely powerful.

It’s interesting how feminism in most movies illustrates women as masculine, however,  Prince-Bythewood purposefully keeps the feminine side of women and how natural the qualities of strength, courage and determination are to women. The most significant topic in the movie for me was the importance of girlhood and its value amongst the whole community. Many older women, regardless of some abstracted personalities, instinctively care for the younger girls. The stories of girlhood, being torn away and lost, are consuming.

While the movie is two hours long, your attention won’t wander for a second, and not because it’s jam-packed with action scenes or anticipation. Instead, because of the honest emotion shown on screen. The art of the movie is nothing more than the story. The film is loosely based on the real story of the Agojie and the kingdom of Dahomey, even though it’s not insanely accurate. Even with the story not being translated word for word, the women’s pain, anger and victory are striking. Despite “The Woman King” being shut out by the Academy and will not be included in the Oscars, I can easily say that this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.