What begins as a mesmerizing conversation quickly becomes redundant, the topic always impactful, yet the delivery becomes stale.
Based on true events, Women Talking gives viewers a seat in the discussion between women of a religious community who have been sexually assaulted as they debate what they should do in response. Sarah Polley’s script doesn’t sugarcoat a thing, immediately diving into the subject in a refreshingly raw and revealing manner. Clair Foy is phenomenal throughout, but it was Jessie Buckley who delivered each and every line with a tormented passion, leaving me hanging on her every word. This ensemble cast is stellar and without weakness; their struggles demand empathy and earn it quickly. It’s what happens after the stage is set that ultimately weakens Polley’s overall film. As a conversation starter, Women Talking succeeds, but it does little new to move the needle.
While watching, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Women Talking is overly simplistic, the world in which these women live (the enclosed religious community) left unexplored. The developments that are meant to spur the plot forward are presented without focus, undermining their impact and robbing the audience of a more dynamic discussion. Add in the dull cinematography and rudimentary score and you have a film that is working against itself. While I commend Polley for her intent and will always root for films to tell stories that are tough, challenging, and representative, Women Talking is a flawed production.
Women Talking hits limited theaters in January.