The Woman King (15)
The Woman King (15)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Runtime: 135 minutes
Cast: Viola Davis, John Boyega, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim
Synopsis: The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood [Love & Basketball (2000), Disappearing Acts (2000), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), Beyond the Lights (2014), The Old Guard (2020)], The Woman King is a spectacular, memorable, historic and violent tale of African women warriors inspired by true events involving the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin) in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen.
An action-packed, grand spectacle with vivid and theatrical performances, the film follows the story of General Nanisca [critically revered Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she leads the Agojie and trains the next generation of recruits for battle to protect Dahomey against enemies determined to destroy their way of life.
The state, under the rule of newly ascendant King Ghezo [John Boyega: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Attack the Block (2011) ] faces a war on two fronts with enemies landing on their shores threatening to enslave their people and the powerful Oyo empire attempting to steal their land.
From a story by Maria Bello and screenplay by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince-Bythewood, also in the fantastic cast is rising star Thuso Mbedu [The Underground Railway TV mini-series (2021)] as firebrand recruit Nawi, who has been effectively forced into the military by an angry father for refusing to marry an old man.
Lashana Lynch [No Time to Die (2021)] is Igozie, Nawi’s charismatic mentor and Sheila Atim [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)] is Amenza, second in command to General Nanisca.
With its epic battle scenes and suberbly choreographed fight scenes, Nanisca leads her fearsome and fearless female warriors but she wants to use her experience and influence to extract Dahomey from the slave trade by convincing the king to export palm oil instead of people as slaves. But this will also require breaking Dahomey’s ties with the Oyo Empire, which fortifies its riches by working with European traders. Nanisca also has a personal revenge quest against the Oyo. Interwoven into this thrilling action film, Nawi who has a mysterious past of her own.
Memorable, spectacular with a great ensemble cast headed with the gravitas of the superb performance of Viola Davis.
This is an empowering and moving, emotional film about the Agojie, Dahomey’s Amazons, an elite brigade of female warriors tougher and more feared than any men, which has a rich narrative and may inspire you to learn more of the actual history and culture.
Dahomey was uniquely progressive with political and religious roles balanced with gender parity. The king would appoint a female reigning mate called the Kpojiton (which translates as: The Woman King).
Images courtesy of : Sony Pictures