The title subjects of Women Talking explore extreme MeToo issues in a sensitive film from director Sarah Polley. Working from Miriam Towes’ novel with roots in reality, Polley fashions a screenplay that relies on performers working as a team following a game plan of dialogue tossed like a ball to the right handler. From Frances McDormand in a bit part to Claire Foy of The Crown or a newcomer like Kate Hallett, each nails the differing attitudes that arise in their circumstances and debate. Rooney Mara, Judith Ivey, Jessie Buckley, and Ben Whishaw as a token male round out the cast. Their characters’ challenges prove complex.
Fostered in a cultish religious society that denies them education and outside communication, the women initially accept it as God’s will that the men of their sect sometimes drug and rape them. But gut reaction says otherwise, a sensation some members want to address. A band called The Clash sang the basic question:“Should I stay, or should I go?” No easy answer comes for women who know no other way of life and want to maintain ties to their children and God. The women also face extra challenges with absolutely no preparation like reading, writing, or job skills necessary in an outside world full of technology.
As its title implies, Women Talking deals with limited action, mostly confined to a single room where characters discuss their options. Dealing with unsettling and difficult issues, the creative team provides a project acknowledging that little in life emerges in stark black or white with solid answers.