Grab your popcorn and get ready to sit through one of the most powerful movies of the year so far. The Woman King, is full of action, and complex issues and is a must-see movie. The Woman King follows the story of Nanisca, the current leader of the Agojie, a female warrior group in the Kingdom of Dahomey in Africa in the 1820s. When their kingdom is at risk from the Oyo who currently work with the slave traders, Nanisca must balance protecting her kingdom, training the next generation of warriors and tackling her past at the same time.
The movie does address the atrocities of slavery, and the effects it not only had on local populations but the generations that followed. It even has a character who returns to Dahomey, the land of his mother, who witnesses firsthand what she and other enslaved people went through at the slave markets and beforehand. When he meets Nawi, his perspective of the Dahomey people begins to shift, and he starts to relate more to that side of his heritage instead of his Portuguese upbringing.
It focuses heavily on the evils of slavery, it’s impact on the villages and communities it destroyed. But it also shows the hand that the kingdom of Dahomey had in the trade itself and the dark past that slavery had in all of their lives. The Dahomey people’s involvement in the slave trade is something that is a dark part of history, and while the point in history the movie takes place may be fiction – they don’t shy away from including the darkest parts of the story as well.
The Woman King does mostly revolve around the story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. It shows their training rituals, their bonds, and even the atrocities that they faced when they went up against the Oyo. It shows the complex life and commitment that the women who were part of the Agojie signed up for, and what costs it could cause them.
The women that portray the Agojie are strong, and the training that each and every actor did is inspiring on its own. With true moments of combat and fighting portrayed, and will keep you at the edge of your seat. With all that said, The Woman King is not without fault of course. There seems to be a bit of the puritanical thread still in the story that Nawi will lose her power if she ever is with a man. This may have been part of the stipulation to be part of the Agojie, but seems almost out of place with the rest of the empowering messaging throughout the movie.
The Woman King is based on fact, but the actual story is one of fiction. While the actual events may not have happened exactly as portrayed on screen – there are complex issues being shown throughout the whole film. The movie is moving and inspiring, the action is at times brutal and savage, and the Agojie absolutely shows viewers what fearless warriors can be.
The Woman King is exclusively in movie theaters on September 16th. The movie does come in at over two hours and fifteen minutes, so be sure to have your snacks and settle in for an action-packed movie.
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About The Woman King:
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…