Oscar Indication: Entre Mulheres, Review
The title of the film, Entre Mulheres - Women Talking, is aptly descriptive as the entire movie is centered around women engaging in conversations with one another. While the premise may seem simple, the film's storyline delves deep into an intimate narrative, gradually revealing an epic dimension through its captivating dialogue and talented cast.
by Ana Machado
The title of Sarah Polley’s film, Entre Mulheres – Women Talking, is remarkably fitting as the movie centers around women engaging in conversation. Though the premise seems simple, the film’s story unfolds in layers, revealing an epic scope that is carried by the strength of its dialogues and cast.
Entre Mulheres – Women Talking has a simple premise, but it unfolds into an epic story. The film is based on Miriam Toews’ book of the same name, and it centers on a group of women living in a Mennonite Christian community in the USA. These women have been victims of sexual abuse committed by men in their community, and they must decide whether to stay and fight for change or leave the only home they’ve ever known. However, this is not an easy decision, as most of the men in the community support the criminals and pressure the women to forgive them or face eternal damnation. The film explores these complex issues through the power of dialogue and the excellent performances of the cast.
The film portrays a group of women living in an isolated Mennonite Christian community in the USA. They have been subjected to sexual crimes committed by men in the community and must decide whether to leave the community, which represents everything they have known so far, or stay and fight for a safer place. The majority of adult men in the community were willing to pay the criminals’ bail, leaving their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters with an ultimatum: forgive the aggressors or risk eternal damnation.
Representatives from three families, including sisters Salome (Claire Foy) and Ona (Rooney Mara), the skeptical Mariche (Jessie Buckley), and matriarchs Agata (Judith Ivey) and Greta (Sheila McCarthy), are chosen to debate the matter. The conversations that follow are frank and inspiring, navigating between the women’s faith and their desire for a better life.
The film begins with the sentence “This story is the product of a fertile female imagination” written in capital letters. This statement serves as both a denunciation of the aggressors and their accomplices who tried to attribute the attacks to supposed female “hysteria,” and an accurate description of what happens when women are given a chance to talk. As one of the characters, Ona, notes at one point, dreaming is all that is left for them, as they have been stripped of any power over their lives and bodies.
Entre Mulheres – Women Talking has an apt title that encapsulates the film’s focus on women’s conversations. Based on Miriam Toews’ book of the same name, the film follows women in an isolated Mennonite Christian community in the USA who are victims of sexual crimes committed by men in the community. A group of women form a plebiscite to decide whether to leave the community they have always known or stay and fight to make it safer. The film centers on three families represented by Salome (Claire Foy), Ona (Rooney Mara), Mariche (Jessie Buckley), Agata (Judith Ivey), and Greta (Sheila McCarthy), who engage in inspiring conversations about faith and their desire for a better life. They start building a future for themselves and their children in the absence of men except for August (Ben Wishaw), the teacher who records the minutes of the meeting.
Polley’s brilliant script captures the nuances of the conversation as the women’s emotions – tenderness, anger, laughter, and indignation – are expressed. The film is not linear, and the weight of choice and questions about faith create an emotional impact on the audience, making them more invested in the women’s stories and personalities.
About the author / Ana Machado
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