Updated: Sep 28, 2022
The Woman King stars Viola Davis as General Nanisca, the leader of the female warriors, The Agojie. Their job is to liberate the Dahomey women who were taken by slavers of the Oyo Empire. This conflict between the kingdom of Dahomey and Oyo plays heavily in this movie. King Ghezo (John Boyega) is in conflict over trade that includes giving up some of his people to slavers. General Nanisca and her warriors who are also led by Izogie (Lashana Lynch) and Amenza (Sheila Atim). The ladies recruit some of the ladies of their kingdom and train them to become warriors. One stands out is Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) whose strong mind and mouth gets her into trouble, but Izogie sees something in Nawi that keeps her pushing to make it through the final phase of becoming a warrior.
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Gina Prince-Bythewood did an excellent job of directing, especially during the battle scenes where I found myself on the edge of my seat pulling for the warriors. The cinematography by Polly Morgan displayed how beautiful these kingdoms were and how that beauty can be tarnished by evil and greed. The acting was top tier. Viola Davis never disappoints but I have to say that Thus Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim were all stand outs in this film. That is not to say John Boyega was not good, he was great as a conflicted king who had to decide between listening to his wife Shante (Jayme Lawson) or General Nanisca. Shante clearly likes the power and the money, whereas General Nanisca is trying to convince the king that you can have it all, but it doesn’t have to be at the hands of your own people.
The Woman King touches on many serious topics, such as slavery and what happens to women who are enslaved, conflicts within the kingdoms of Africa and lastly, how things of the past always find their way back into the present. I really feel that The Woman King should be nominated for an Oscar. It is that good. This movie will give you all the emotions, anger, irritation and joy. It also displays the strength of women, especially black women and how they have managed to endure and get even stronger throughout the centuries. The Woman King is an uplifting movie that will inspire.