Film Review: Women Talking by Sarah Polley

  • Taryn Bates


The title Women Talking initially comes off as passive. However, the women featured in this story are actually working to put words into action after a shocking revelation about the strange and violating experiences all female-bodied residents of an isolated Mennonite community have been waking up to for years. When seeking explanations, the male elders of the colony gaslight the women by attributing the assaults to Satan, ghosts, bids for attention, or hysterical female imagination. Finally, one of the men is caught in the act and gives up the names of the other perpetrators while revealing the use of cow tranquilizer to pull off the attacks. During the two days while the male perpetrators are jailed in the city, the women are left behind at the colony. They are told to use this time to forgive the attackers or be banished from the colony. Their banishment also means being barred from heaven due to their unforgiveness. Instead, the women decisively use this time to host a referendum, which leads to talking out a tie between choosing to stay and fighting or leaving the colony.