The Woman King

Watch The Woman King

"Her reign begins."
  • PG-13
  • 2022
  • 6.9  (72,551)
  • 77

Released in 2022, The Woman King is a historical epic that inspires and captivates audiences with its powerful storytelling and performances. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring an ensemble cast led by the incomparable Viola Davis, the film serves not only as a showcase of stellar acting and direction but also as a profound narrative focused on the themes of freedom, sisterhood, and the power of unity against the odds.

Set in the 19th century, in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin), The Woman King explores the remarkable story of the Agojie, an all-female group of warriors who protected their kingdom with unrivaled skill and ferocity. Viola Davis portrays General Nanisca, a battle-hardened leader whose authority, strategic mind, and combat abilities are second to none. She is tasked with preparing the next generation of recruits to confront enemies that threaten their way of life, freedom, and very survival.

The film weaves historical elements with a deeply personal narrative, creating a rich tapestry of the lives of these incredible women warriors. It delves into the political complexities of the time, including the tragic and morally reprehensible transatlantic slave trade, which the Agojie and their kingdom fiercely oppose – adding a layer of urgency and moral weight to their battles.

One of the standout recruits portrayed in the epic is Nawi, played by Thuso Mbedu, a defiant and spirited young woman whose fiercely independent nature and refusal to submit to traditional gender roles lead her to the Agojie. Nawi's character arc is one of the driving emotional forces throughout the film. Her journey from a rebellious outcast to a skilled warrior under the tutelage of General Nanisca is as much about physical training as it is about forging her identity and understanding the depths of loyalty and courage.

Adding to the dynamic ensemble is Lashana Lynch, who takes on the role of Izogie, a charismatic and formidable warrior whose wisdom, humor, and camaraderie provide both levity and depth to the military sisterhood. Her portrayal highlights the individuality of the warriors, each with their own stories and motivations, yet all united under the same banner of protecting their kingdom.

Visually, The Woman King is a marvel, combining the natural beauty of the African landscapes with the vibrant and detailed costumes and set designs that evoke the period and the cultural richness of the Dahomey Kingdom. Action sequences are choreographed with a visceral immediacy that immerses the viewer in the deft movements and strategy of the Agojie, underscored by a rousing musical score that reinforces the emotional heft and epic scale of the film.

Cinematographically, the film employs a kinetic style that puts the audience at the heart of the action. Camera work is precise, movements are fluid, and there is a deliberate attention to showcasing the physicality and stamina of the women, which is a tribute to both the characters they portray and the actors themselves, many of whom underwent rigorous training to authentically depict the combat techniques of the Agojie.

The Woman King does not shy away from the harsh realities of warfare or from the societal and personal tribulations each character faces. It examines the intricacies of leadership and the weight of responsibility on General Nanisca's shoulders as she leads her warriors into battle while navigating the treacherous political terrain of alliances and enemies. It grapples with the moral complexities of the era, resisting a simplistic portrayal of good versus evil, presenting instead a nuanced take on the historical context.

The narrative is densely packed with layers of personal and historical struggles, yet the storytelling remains coherent and engaging throughout the film's duration. The screenplay is both educational and stirring, given the relatively lesser-known history of the Agojie warriors, which makes the film not only an entertaining cinematic experience but also an enlightening one.

With its enthralling performances, intricate storytelling, and thoughtful direction, The Woman King stands out as a film that both honors the legacy of the real-life women warriors it depicts and provides a source of inspiration and empowerment. It ensures that the audience leaves the theater with a sense of awe for the courage, strength, and resilience of the Agojie and a deeper appreciation of the stories that history often overlooks. The Woman King is a significant addition to the historical epic genre, marking its place with a unique perspective that resonates profoundly in our modern times.

The Woman King is a 2022 action movie. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 77.

The Woman King
Where to Watch The Woman King
The Woman King is available to watch, stream, download and buy, rent on demand at Netflix, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Woman King for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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    6.9  (72,551)
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