Women Talking Review


This film about a bunch of ladies questioning faith is like a melancholy version of 12 Angry Men (1957). With five female roles it could have easily been titled 5 Angry Ladies instead of Women Talking. The movieis all about women being honest and accepting reality. From my perspective, its dramatic irony is a bit exaggerated. Women Talking explores a variety of problems, but in the end, it just feels like a long debate amongst the women involved.

The film takes place in 2010. The setting is in a deserted religious community. The ladies are Ona (played by Rooney Mara), Salome (played by Claire Foy), Mariche (played by Jessie Buckley), Scarface Janz (played by Frances McDormand), and Agata (played by Judith Ivey). Women Talking challenges the ladies to come to terms with reconciliation with their experiences of sexually assault. Some recall being assaulted, some question if they were assaulted, and some question their faith. As the ladies discuss their encounters, the film covers a complex landscape of right and wrong with religion as a backdrop.

I found myself suffering some boredom during Women Talking, but it subsided as the conversations became more deliberate. The film displays a willingness for truths to be revealed as the intensity builds. The revelations come to a halt, however, because of the mixed conversations and unwanted comparisons between the ladies.

What enthralled me the most with Women Talking is the in-depth dialogue. The film’s writing is emotionally eloquent. Writer and director Sarah Polley exhibits seriousness delivering this performance. Women Talking is a worthy film given the voices it gives to its characters played by amazing talent. In the film Mara’s character asks, “Why does love—the absence of love, the end of love, the need for love—result in so much violence?” That question is direct and carries a strong narrative throughout Women Talking. The topic of sexual assault is never an easy one and the subject matter may be hard for some to take in.  My appreciation for Women Talking stems from the opportunity to have the ladies be heard. The story is about them opening about their experiences while also using reconciliation as their savior. The film portrays the many wonders of personal evolution.

Women Talking requires attention at first. The initial approach is quite dry, but eventually it begins to captivate. Women Talking is pervasive in references to cultural and religious factors. When the more difficult topics came into the discussions, I began to find myself more hooked on the film and asked myself a lot of questions. Why are the ladies admitting to what they are guilty about? Why are they hiding the fact that some were assaulted? Do they truly feel their life is at risk due to religious beliefs? The conversations that were unsettling made my head spin, but those topics that are hardest to hear in Women Talking make the movie. Three stars.

The Pale Blue Eye Review


This is the third time Christian Bale has starred in a film directed by Scott Cooper. The first time Bale played a steel mill worker trying to save his brother in Out of The Furnace (2013). The second had Bale playing an army captain in Hostiles (2017). Now, in The Pale Blue Eye, he plays a detective in the 1830s.

The premise of The Pale Blue Eye focuses on Detective Augustus Landor, played by Bale. The characters also include include West Point Cadet Edgar Allan Poe, played by Harry Melling, and Jean Pepe, played Robert Duvall. These three are the most important characters surrounding the film’s trembling terror of a crime spree.

In The Pale Blue Eye, Det. Landor is assigned to investigate a murder of a West Point cadet, and he recruits Poe to help him with the investigation. Many people assume the cadet died by suicide, but the evidence makes the case creepy for Landor and Poe, and time is of the essence in solving the case.

With Bale’s role as Det. Landor, expect a great amount of realism. Landor is a widower with alcohol issues, and the case grows to be more and more dangerous for him. I found myself wondering whether Landor could mentally handle the murder case. Duvall’s character, Pepe, is a philosopher who helps the detective understand the writing and symbolism clues tied into the murder case.

The twists and turns for Landor and Poe in The Pale Blue Eye are inevitable, and there are interesting political and religious aspects to the investigation. There may even be a cult involved in the cadet death, and that murder is just the beginning. The 1830s is an era where lanterns are flashlights, and there are of course no computers. The lack of technology means the case must be solved thorough calculations and logic.

The cinematography in The Pale Blue Eye gives the film a very eerie feel. The film is saturated with darkness, and it’s set in the fall and early winter with forest scenes and snow, which is unsettling. An interesting aspect of the era is that despite the lack of modern communication, whatever is said, seen, or heard is thrown right into the open; there is little confidentiality. So who can be trusted? Join the mystery and find out. Three stars for The Pale Blue Eye.

Whitney Houston: I wanna Dance with Somebody Review


Naomie Ackie is the right actress to portray Whitney Houston. Her performance soars in Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Ackie has the voice, the looks, and the personality. She is ferocious and poised for success. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody is an honest,compelling true story which shows how the stakes for becoming successful are high and the personal risks of fame can often be overwhelming. The tensions created on Whitney’s rise to the top are exposed throughout the film.

The movie is brilliantly displayed in chronological order of thecharacters in Whitney’s life. They include her parents John and Cissy Houston (played by Clarke Peters and Tamara Tunie). There is also Clive Davis (played by Stanley Tucci) and Bobby Brown (played by Ashton Sanders). John and Clive play the marketing and sales roles in promoting Whitney’s incredibletalent. Bobby, unfortunately, adds much of the damage to Whitney’s life. While Whitney reaps the rewards of her music and royalties, her careless behavior also leads to many irreparable consequences. The question is whether she can hold it all together by finding a way out the complicated stressors in her life.

The film begins with an early focus on Whitney and jumps right into her singing career. Fans will enjoy revisiting her true moments of fame, including when she sang at the Super Bowl, her successful movies, and concert tours. Her music, however, is when she displays the struggles in her life and creates moments of despair as well as inspiration. Whitney experienced fame, abuse, and neglect. The performance by Ackie is outstanding as she portrays the real Whitney regaining her faith. Clive helps her achieve renewed success as he builds a track record of contracts and associated fame.

What captivated me the most during the film was the working relationship between Whitney and Clive. Tucci delivers a performance that is encouraging and motivating. He helps Whitney find her voice and the meaning in her music. He also helps her to establish the public image that will help her sellrecords. Whitney’s life of turmoil is saturated in the film and Tucci’s performance provides the guide to Whitney’s redemption. The film has many sad scenarios, but it is powerful in finding hope for Whitney.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody was an experience of lightness and darkness surrounding the many stages of Whitney’s life. It displays an emphasis on reality and shows that money and fame do not buy someone happiness. The spiraling conflicts caused by her financial success sets off awhirlwind of mental stressors eventually causing the light to hit a sad plateau.

The film showcases many memorable songs, a history of Whitney’s accomplishments, and also various personality clashes. Despite the realistic and sad issues, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody is a stellar movie of musical appreciation. It will turn tears into joy and appreciation. Three and a half stars.

Treating cinema in many forms of art!

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