The Woman King – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Woman King – Heroine of Kings: We are Agojie

The aspect of any experience is its worth.  To see something is to embark, and to embark is to witness, realize and become.  With film, the experience comes in the richness of the journey.  From action to romance, you want to be enthralled with the unfolding stories on screen.  If that feeling, comes … then the experience was worth it.  In this review, I look at a film that embarks on a story of historical means.  Through riveting action and dramatic tropes, The Woman King is a journey that brings new meaning to heroism. 

This film is a historical drama that depicts the Kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century.  A journey that will bring the kingdom’s survival to uncertainty, one woman will show what it truly means to be … Agojie.  On the surface, the film is built on a typical dramatic outline infused with a hero’s tale.  Beyond the outline, it is a humanistic journey that reflections on themes of family, culture and duty.  The story begins through the drop-in method, showcasing Nanisca (Viola Davis), a general of the Agojie for the Dahomey tribe, as she leads her group into battle against their rivals, the Oyo Tribe.  After this action prologue, the film shifts to world-building (for the African nations), the central conflict (slave trade) and layering of the hero’s tale.  Through this mixture, we get to see how the Dahomey tribe lives and interacts, creating a sense of realism to the dramatic tropes.  Through humanistic overtures, we get a sense of their honor code, creating layers of intrigue on how they confront enemies’ home and abroad.  Paralleling this is the world of the Agojie, witnessing how they prepare and train to become part of the king’s guard.  Through characters like Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), Izogie (Lashana Lynch) and Amenza (Sheila Atim), you get a sense of their sisterhood, strength and overall comradery.  This adds worth to the overall ‘hero’s tale’ aspect, providing a sense of growth and worth to their mission (to protecting the tribe).          

As the story continues, it becomes layered with conviction of change.   Under King Ghezo (John Boyega) guidance, he wants to shy away from the slave trade.  This causes a domino effect that leads to dramatic sequence, action set pieces and consequential actions from the Agojie.  With the honor of the tribe at stake, Nanisca must decide what is best for her people.  This leads into a third act where confrontation of the past comes to the present, bringing her (and the tribes) story full circle within the typical hero’s triumph climax and a wholesome feeling epilogue.  The Woman King is a riveting journey to the common hero’s tale.  If you are a fan of historical dramas, action or heroic tales, this is one for you.  This is full price experience worth seeing in theaters.     

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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