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  • Writer's pictureAdam Ryan Chang

Let's Talk About "Women Talking"

Unable to sleep after trying the Kung Pao Chicken from Panda Express (it's not that it's bad; I just have a weak stomach when it comes to spicy food 😌), I searched for film options on my TV.

"'Women Talking' follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they figure out how they might move forward to build a better world for themselves and their children. Stay and fight or leave. They will not do nothing."

My interest was peaked. The film's blurb is only 41 words long. My mentors (from picturebooks to novelists) have taught me a great deal, including an exercise to review, critique, and breakdown what constitutes a captive "pitch." Stories of strong women overcoming, persevering, breaking through, fighting back, or uplifting one another have always resonated with me.

"Isolated religious colony" was also enough to make me commit to watching. As a teenager, my mother converted from agnostic (a person who doesn't know nor believe whether there is some nature of God) to a Jehovah's Witness. I've witnessed firsthand what it is to be shunned/ex-communicated/outcasted. And how the indoctrination of old men can slowly mold, influence, and shape an entire person's being. I was curious as to what this particular "colony" was encountering.

I have and will always appreciate storytelling in all forms. And with age, I can't quite fully describe the mental high when stories still surprise me. Women Talking presented centuries-old topics and debates touching on autonomy, individual human rights, the human desire to feel joy and express thought, and that achieving a life of harmony, particularly with our family and closest neighbors, is never a passive act.

The character dynamics and relationships to one another touch on motherhood (which I've always prioritized and interpreted as nurturing, fierce, and in theory, unconditional)---what it means to be a mother to a 4-year-old girl (still innocent to much of life) or a 13-year-old boy (who has experienced physical growth, witnessed the patterns and behaviors of other men, and who has benefited from an oppressive system). There's also a transgender character, and if you're asking what is the role of a trans character in a story line taking place in an American/Canadian religious colony in 2010, I invite you to be inspired, angered, moved and touched.

Women Talking is based off a novel by Miriam Toews. Margaret Atwood shared, “This amazing, sad, shocking, but touching novel, based on a real-life event, could be right out of The Handmaid's Tale.”

Runtime is 1h 44m.

Women Talking is currently available to all subscribers on Amazon Prime Video and available to rent on Apple TV.

*As an alternative, you could also watch The Family Plan on Apple TV. It's predictable, action-packed, funny, and features a shirtless Mark Wahlberg.

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