The Woman King – TIFF 2022

The Woman King

The Woman King – TIFF 2022

A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The general of a West African royal army leads the fight against an oppressive empire in league with slavers in . In 1823 West Africa, the Kingdom of Dahomey, led by King Ghezo (), is projected by the Agojie, an all-female military regiment led by General Nanisca (). Nawi () is an orphaned and abused woman who joins the Agojie to avoid being married off for money. Nawi is trained by Izogie () and soon becomes a formidable warrior. Conflict arises in the form of the Ozo Empire led by Oba Ade (), who are aligned with Portuguese slavers.

The Woman King is a historical action-drama directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) and starring Viola Davis as the West African General Nanisca. The Kingdom of Dahomey is endangered by the Ozo Empire, which is in league with Portuguese slavers. Complications arise when Agojie recruit Nawi falls for Malik (), a mixed-race member of the slavers. Nawi also learns shocking revelations about her parentage, which affects her status in the Agojie.

With a running time of 135 minutes, The Woman King is a film that is arguably on the slow side at times. However, it is also important how The Woman King is an African story with a predominantly female cast. The film is at its best during its battle scenes, which feature many crowd-pleasing moments. I can see the film receiving some Oscar attention for the performances by both Viola Davis and Lashana Lynch (No Time to Die), the latter of whom stands out in her supporting role as Izogie, the trainer and eventual friend of recruit Nawi.

Overall, while it might not be a perfect film, The Woman King is still a solid historical action-drama told from the point-of-view of these brave African women.

Trailer for The Woman King – TIFF 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.