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Women Talking (2023) Blu-ray Review

By   Mar 09, 2023 11:45 AM EST

I can’t tout the merits of the talent enough from the cast to Polley and Toews and they created something very special with Women Talking.

Religion. For some, it is a retreat where they find peace and solace. For others, it is cultish nightmare and yet for even others, they believe it is a fantasy made up by group leaders to keep the community in line with established rules and constructs.  To many outsiders, these communities seem unusual and unhealthy but to those who choose to live within their confines, it is their way of life and typically the only life they have ever known.  

Author Miriam Toews (All My Puny Sorrows) knows all too well what it is like to live in such a community, having grown up as a Mennonite in Canada. Her book, Women Talking, is based on true events that occurred in a Bolivian Mennonite community between 2005 and 2009.  The men would drug the females with horse tranquilizers and rape them.  The next morning it all would be explained away as having been the women's faults...demons that were punishing them or wild, female imaginations, etc. Dramatized in last year's film of the same name, the Oscar-nominated movie is available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

When one of the members of the religious community is caught trying to rape one of the young girls, he is arrested and begins to name the other members who are also guilty of the same crime, eventually resulting in their arrests as well. The elder males leave to bail the men out of jail and while they are gone the women vote to a) do nothing, b) stay and fight, or c) leave.  When all the votes are counted, there is a tie between options B and C so eleven female members meet to discuss the merits of both options and make a final decision. 

One could almost assume the film had been adapted from a stage play since most of the story takes place in one setting, a hay loft. However, that isn't the case and the setting remains minimalistic to serve the idea that the focus should be on the dialogue.  Of course, the marriage of Toews' story and Polley's script paired with an incredible cast makes for a powerful and intense two hours.  Adding to the blend is Polley's direction that incorporates individual moments while remaining focused on the group as a whole and with such a talented group of women that is a difficult feat to accomplish.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to the combo pack's technical presentation, there seems to be a missed opportunity to add to the brilliant direction, acting, and screenplay.  The video quality is the standard Blu-ray 1080p resolution with a 2.76:1 aspect ratio and while details are sharp and clean, there is a richness that is slightly lacking but would have been present in 4K.  

Additionally, the DTS-HD master audio 5.1 is more than serviceable but doesn't offer the same depth of ambient noise that a Dolby Atmos mix would have.  For example, the majority of the movie takes place in the hey loft of a barn located on a farm yet there is little to no animal noise coming from the side and rear speakers.  I do understand that the dialogue is the most important sound but a little something "extra" would have been nice.  Speaking of extras, this is where the combo pack is lacking the most.  There are no extras included...none, nada, zilch, zip, zero... and it is truly a disappointment.  Interviews with the cast and Toews or some insight from Polley or material from the real-life case would have been interesting but alas, Universal Studios obviously felt they weren't necessary.  

I can't tout the merits of the talent enough from the cast to Polley and Toews and they created something very special with this film.  I simply wish Universal would have handled it with a little more TLC.  The film gets an A-, but the combo pack doesn't.

Grade: B+

Directed By:

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 105 minutes
Distributed By: Focus Features

For more information about Women Talking visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Women Talking images are © Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.


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