Women Talking is the kind of intense, artsy movie that only comes around during Oscar season, but I don’t want to imagine a world without movies like this. Writer/director Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz) gathers together a powerhouse ensemble of actors to, basically, sit in a room and, yes, talk, but it turns out to be the most surprising and hauntingly compelling film of the year.
Rooney Mara (Carol), Claire Foy (The Crown) and Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter) star in this film that is set inside an isolated religious community in 2010, but it may as well be 1810 for the way the community eschews all matter of modern conveniences. This Amish-style religion is wholly self-dependent and lives by archaic rules, notably regarding the rights—or lack of—of women. It is a way of life that is wholly and gladly accepted by all members of the sect. But when a series of savage attacks occur within the tight-knit group, all against women and all committed by male members of the group, the senior women of the community gather together to discuss what, if anything, the women should do to protect themselves.