Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Story By: Dana Stevens & Maria Bello
Cast: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, Jordan Bolger, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Jimmy Odukoya, & Jayme Lawson
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This was an amazing prologue-experience to the experience Black people will be having again with Black Panther 2.
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Theme & Story: A-
Overall “Paper” Score: A-
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General Public: Worth the $$$
Film Enthusiasts: Worth the $$$
Dramatic/ Black History Fans: Worth The $$$
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Worth the $$$
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1. Warriors of an African kingdom fight to protect and defend all Africans, especially African women, from oppressors and patriarchy. This is The Woman King.
Thematically, I watched a film that did an amazing job tackling the complex human/woman response at the intersection(s) of Love/Care and the Trauma from, Strength from and against, and Protection against one’s oppressor(s)—figuratively and literally—in such a digestible way.
There were a lot of strengths of this story, considering the different layers. From beginning to end, the film does a great job weaving the conflict of patriarchal oppression in varied ways from varied perspectives via the different strengths of the warriors. 👍🏾👍🏾
I think my only small issue with the story was with Shante’s story line. Yes, I noticed that she had personal aspirations that were opposite to those of the Dahomey warriors, and aligned more with traditional patriarchal expectations as a way to have a contrasting woman existence, but it would’ve been great to see her storyline be more subtle and inferred OR interacting with the main storyline as a means to add additional conflict and tension within the different desires and aspirations of women in the same oppressive and patriarchal context. BUT… this is minor, and even the storyline driven by Shante was engaging and well understood.🤔🤷🏾♂️
2. My goodness, John Boyega is a beautiful man! 😩🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾😍
3. The fight scenes were amazing. No lie, I had low expectations based on some of the images from the trailer, but they were great! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
4. Oh…okay Maliek. I see you, boo. 👀😜
5. The pacing was quite interesting. Was it an entertaining and well utilized 124 minutes? Yeah, I would say so. There was never a moment where I wondered about the time—I was fully invested. On the flip side, there was something a little rushed with how Nawi’s character was thrown into the main story, and how the training moved. It went from ropes to blades like 0-100. 🤔🤷🏾♂️
6. Lashana MF Lynch! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾
7. It’s the LGBTQ+ representation for me! Yeeesssss! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
8. I know one thing, Shante SERVED! 🙌🏾
9. Baby, I was SO here for the whirring of her blade on a rope! Yes, ma’am! 🙌🏾🙌🏾
10. Stand out character for me, hands down, was Lashana Lynch! My goodness, I was so drawn to her delivery of Izogie, and loved her the hard-softness of her character performance. Additionally, I loved her character’s relationship with the theme—her avoidance of caring or loving another in order to maintain her strength and purpose of protection. Just amazing. 🙌🏾🙌🏾
Viola Davis’ character, especially her delivery in Acts 2 and 3, provided so much roundness in regards to thematic followthrough. She was tough, but she was also human who was dealing with her own traumas that fueled the toughness she displayed/felt she could only display. 👍🏾
Thuso Mbedu’s character was interesting. I wonder was it intentional not to show her as a young and naturally independently desiring woman in a world that takes away her agency of desire to help emphasize the importance of the lessons learned later in the story, but that is something I definitely wanted to see because who she was portrayed to be in Acts 2 and 3 was different from my first introduction of her in Act 1. Her development was as cohesive, but I also understood/understand the complexity of womanhood/human nature in general. 🤷🏾♂️🤔
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Overall #TheWomanKing gives Black Panther – meets Roots – meets Avatar – meets Mulan – meets the Dora Milaje – meets the Amazonians of Wonder Woman
I think many are naturally drawn to the name Viola, and I mean she is the lead character of this film, BUT… the star for me is Lashana Lynch! SHE was absolutely amazing.
In terms of the story, I appreciated how the film made sure not to fully anchor the events of slavery (because we’ve been there and done that in films throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s), and instead focused on “oppressors,” from both outside and within in, and the relationship to women.
It’s definitely a well packed and intentional PG-13 film.
SN: I really love John Boyega! He had an interview on The Daily Show where he mentioned channeling his dad for this role, and putting on the pounds to give that “healthy, paternal king-like vibe”, and there was a scene with Santo where he asked For his court to give Santo a seat, and I felt like I saw his dad in that entire moment LOL
Also, the hate this film is getting on IMDB…y’all think they mad about Ariel…they also get mad when a story doesn’t put/keep Black folks in a negative light.