The Woman King is a film starring Viola Davis that tells the story of a group of woman warriors, the Agojie, within the Kingdom of Dahomey. It is a fictionalized accounting of events (a fact that many have overlooked) and a damn fine movie in the vein of Braveheart or Gladiator. Here are a few things I loved about the movie.
1. THERE’S NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT OUTSIDE OF THE DOCUMENTARY SPACE
I challenge anyone to try to find a similar kind of movie to The Woman King that stars a predominantly black woman cast playing a revered band of hardened warriors (Black Panther doesn’t count).
You can probably find a few documentaries, but as far as a Hollywood action blockbuster, it just does not exist. This is a movie I can point my nieces to so they can know they have badass in their blood.
2. LOTS OF YOUNG AND UPCOMING HOLLYWOOD TALENT FEATURE PROMINENTLY
With the exception of Viola Davis, John Boyega, and Lashana Lynch, the majority of the cast are just coming up in the Hollywood space.
Just to provide a couple of examples, Thuso Mbedu is relatively new on American shores as a South African actor, but we will be seeing much more of her in the coming years because she did a phenomenal job as Nawi. Adrienne Warren is known in Broadway circles as the original Tina from the eponymous musical. However, this movie will move the needle on her feature film future.
3. IT IS NOT AN MCU OR DC FILM
This is probably the first non-Marvel or DC film I’ve seen in a movie theater in quite some time. I did see House of Gucci in 2021, but I can’t recall a non-superhero movie that excited me this much. The feeling of catharsis, buzzing of the ears, and need to discus I experienced after I left the theatre is something I do not often experience.
4. IT SHOWS MID-BUDGET CULTURALLY RELEVANT MOVIES ARE IMPORTANT AND PROFITABLE
If mega-blockbuster movies like Black Panther are the cake, something like The Woman King is certainly the icing.
It is an action drama focused on a piece of black history that is not often told. We now know that it cost $50 million to make (minus marketing expenses), and will likely recoup its costs. At this point it will become profitable with a roughly $20 million dollar opening weekend and strong word of mouth.
5. IT’S AN ENTERTAINING AND VERY WELL MADE FILM
Probably the most important point. Sometimes movies at this budget level are well produced, other times they are just entertaining and every so often you get both. This movie happens to be both of those AND well-acted, AND informative (even if it is a fictional accounting of events). This is the kind of movie that is not only going to receive accolades because of how outstanding it is, but will likely become a cornerstone piece of entertainment on streaming and eventually cable.
Honestly I could go on and on about The Woman King, but I implore you to actually go to the theatre to watch it in its full glory.