therhyswelsh’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s only been a hour since I finished the Woman King and it’s already sat on my mind for so long, this 2 hour long part war picture-part character drama is well worth being seen on the biggest screen. The film follows the Agojie, a all-female warrior unit that protects the West African kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th century, following them as seek to protect their king and kingdom from various enemies. A big controversy has been floating around this movie about its historical inaccuracy, and sure nothing here is factual and is very Hollywood, but the film still addresses the criticisms in its storytelling, a lot of the criticism have really come from people who have not even seen the film and want to just be angry about it just because.
What we do get in this Hollywood take on African history though is absolutely wonderful, filled to the brim with fantastic action sequences that make the use of some absolutely fantastic choreography and some beautiful cinematography that make every scene feel like a painting. There’s some very brutal kills here and some dark subject matter that definitely feels out of place at times, the rest of the movie feels very PG13 and should of really went for the R Rating. The main reason you come to this movie though is for the ensemble of actors on display here, and they are absolutely wonderful. Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim serve as some of the clear standouts, but the clear best performance comes from Viola Davis, she has such a gravitas and yet vulnerability in this role, the character drama elements really work because she is such a strong actress. Got to note here as well that John Boyega is also super good in his small role, always happy to see him pop up in films.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did it, it’s a absolute blast of a action romp, Director Gina Prince-Bythewood should be very pleased with herself here. The mixture of action war epic and character drama is super good, and any sort of historical inaccuracy can’t drag down the compelling story this film tells. All the performances are super solid, from both the badass physicality for the action sequences and the emotional vulnerability on display, Davis has led a incredible cast into victory. This film deserves a 8/10, highly recommend this one