The Woman King

The Woman King ★★★★

The Woman King is essential in today's Hollywood machine, a throwback to the powerful historical epics that have become more rare with time. Factual inaccuracies aside, lots of people simply don't know about the intricacies of the slave trade inside Africa and what better way to draw audiences into this troubling and complicated subject by pairing badass female warriors with thrilling fight choreography.

It's the electric performances that spark the story and drive the emotional beats. Lashana Lynch kicks ass and oozes charisma in a star-making turn and newcomer Thuso Mbedu is a revelation but it’s Viola Davis I want to talk about ane I could write an entire essay on her performance.

Davis has always been great but she recently transcended as an actress —ever since Widows she elevated to to the crème de la crème of our current generation of actors. She carries The Woman King in a way only an A-list movie star can, and everything that makes her such a special actress is on display here. The face acting, a side-eye here, a frown there, little grunts and nuances in her tone and voice, she has that rare capability to say so much without saying anything at all. That's her secret sauce, she's a physical performer but she actually plays it pretty tight, always looking like she is either tired or on the edge, ready to explode... Her facial expressions don't vary much and yet you know exactly how she feels at any given moment, and when she breaks into a smile it feels earned and cathartic, making her co-star shine because they brought that out of her; it's a magic trick. She has that gift all the best actors have that make them unique and difficult to copy, and her performance inside this setting makes The Women King stand out amongst most historical epics.

Also, important note, Pann and I watched this after she made me suffer through Red Notice and man, what a palate refresher this proved to be. Two completely different movies but I needed something to wash away the Ryan Reynolds.

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