Rising to the top of the box office this past weekend, The Woman King has received 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, “giving it one of the year's best Rotten Tomatoes scores,” (Colbert). This is especially impressive considering that it is one of the few films this year rated to that level that is not a continuing part of a larger franchise. Its story follows the Agojie, an all-woman group of warriors as they protect the African Kingdom of Dahomey from enemy soldiers and fight against suppression and tyranny (Colbert). Loosely based upon actual historical events from the Kingdom of Dahomey, which was “...located within present-day Benin…” in Western Africa, this story follows themes of sisterhood, resilience, and true power (IMDb). Sheri Flanders from Chicago Reader writes that in this film, “A well-crafted script (story by Maria Bello and Dana Stevens) delivers action, heart, and great storytelling set against the expansive vistas of the West African countryside, making The Woman King an instant classic,” (Flanders).
The next two paragraphs may contain spoilers from this movie.
From the first scene, this movie is packed with incredible choreography. The actors in this film put in unbelievable amounts of work, Jénel Stevens, the fight choreographer for The Woman King, as interviewed by The Credits states, “‘It was very important to them to be able to look the way they needed to look on camera — like a warrior who’d been doing this for decades,’” (King). While these incredibly talented actresses were gaining muscles and training to fight with machetes, they were continuing to act tremendously well. Familiar faces, such as Viola Davis and Lashana Lynch absolutely shine in this film, and although I was unfamiliar with Thuso Mbedu, the actress who portrayed Nawi, Mbedu put on an absolutely incredible performance. However, John Boyega’s performance as the king absolutely made this film for me. User “mightyyendys” comments “I didn't know [John Boyega] had such charisma.” Boyega is absolutely magnetic in his role as King Ghezo, he adds an incredible amount of dimension to this character, who although important, could have easily been pushed more to the side. The characters were loveable, flawed, and undeniably relatable.
There were some parts where the plot felt clunky, and was relatively predictable, such as Nawi being revealed as Nanisca’s daughter, but overall it was really enjoyable. I may not have been surprised with some of the attempted twists, but I was still entertained by the characters and their journeys. There were also some scenes that were not necessary and didn’t add much to either the plot or even the general feel of the story. As they came up, the transitions became noticeably awkward, and it took a little bit for the audience to get back into the story.
I would absolutely recommend this movie to anyone that wants to see a good movie in theatres right now. Although there were some parts I didn’t enjoy as much, overall it was a really nice escape filled with some incredibly powerful stories and characters. It was easy to feel connected to the women in the story, and although many parts were serious and concerned heavier topics, it was a beautiful film.
The Woman King Movie | Official Website | Sony Pictures, https://www.thewomanking.movie/. Accessed 21 September 2022.
Colbert, Stephen. “Why The Woman King's Rotten Tomatoes Score is So Good.” Screen Rant, 20 September 2022, https://screenrant.com/woman-king-rotten-tomatoes-score-reviews-good-why/. Accessed 21 September 2022.
“Domestic 2022 Weekend 38.” Box Office Mojo, https://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/2022W38/. Accessed 25 September 2022.
Flanders, Sheri. “The Woman King.” Chicago Reader, 19 September 2022, https://chicagoreader.com/film/the-woman-king/. Accessed 23 September 2022.
King, Loren. “"The Woman King" Fight Choreographer Jénel Stevens on Raising an Warrior Army.” Motion Picture Association, 21 September 2022, https://www.motionpictures.org/2022/09/the-woman-king-fight-choreographer-jenel-stevens-on-raising-an-warrior-army/. Accessed 25 September 2022.
Prince-Bythewood, Gina. “The Woman King.” Rotten Tomatoes, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_woman_king. Accessed 21 September 2022.
Elizabeth Bentley is a senior at Poudre High School, and this is her first year at the Poudre Press. She writes a blog that you can check out here!