In “ The Woman King,” the always regal Oscar-winner Viola Davis is a mass of muscle, battle wounds, and Strength as General Nanisca, the head of the Agojie, an all-female unit of warriors who protected the West African Kingdom of Dahomey.
In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with skills and fierceness, unlike anything the world has ever seen. Faced with a new threat, Gen. Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that’s determined to destroy their way of life. The world of “The Woman King” is no paradise though, there is rape and uncontrolled hatred of women and there are slavers and colonizers around. A young trainee, Nawi, arrives at the palace doorsteps after her father gives up on trying to marry her off to anyone who will take her, abusive or not. The women don’t all get along, and the king’s brides look down at the soldiers.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film is a throwback to classic war movies’ big, exciting, emotional warrior epics, with the twist that it’s women, not men driving the action.
They didn’t have to look to fantasy or comic books to make “The Woman King” — just history that isn’t widely taught. More people probably know the Dora Milaje than the Agojie, who inspired the “Black Panther” fighters.
The beauty of this movie is that they are not immortal like Wonder Woman, There’s no Avengers-like battle moment. There are no superpowers or magic lassos of truth. The ropes here are just ropes, but deadly enough to put a whole warrior man down. They also fight with machetes and, sometimes, fingernails, up against brutish men and often win.
The Woman King is filled with spirit and soul as Viola Davis lead an all-star cast of Black woman to a historic, groundbreaking cinematic triumph of epic proportions.
Viola Davis is a force of nature and she proves it over and over in this film, and equally giving a memorable performance was Thuso Mbedu as Nawi.
Led by beautiful performances, including award-worthy work from Viola Davis, The Woman King is a must-watch historical epic and needs to be experienced on the largest screen possible!
PG – 13 (War Scenes & Violence)