“The Woman King” is a beautifully shot film with locations in the South African KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces. While the movie is not 100% historically accurate, it has many true aspects such as the all-women warrior unit called the Agojie. The Agojie were a real-life female warrior unit that protected the very powerful Kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The film was very well casted with standout actresses Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu, Davis being projected to win an Oscar for her role. With an action-packed trailer featuring amazing fight scenes of the Agojie, the movie was projected to be extremely successful, and in most cases it was.
The film itself was set in the 1820s in the Kingdom of Dahomey and follows a young girl, Nawi, who wishes not to be married and is unhappy in her family. She ventures to join the esteemed fighting unit, the Agojie warriors, and the movie follows her journey to become a part of their ranks. Davis plays Nanisca who is the leader of the Agojie, the strongest warrior. She, along with many other higher-ranking warriors, helps guide Nawi and the other new girls on their journey to become a part of the Agojie. The movie shows the resilience of women and provides a live-action loose representation of a real female warrior unit that was feared for their strength, wisdom, and courage. The movie also shows the powerful bond that women share through innate femininity and a rekindled mother-daughter relationship.
Now out on Netflix as well, the film is definitely worth the watch with an entertaining storyline and an amazing cast. The actresses performed very well in their roles and their commitment to the film was obvious. It is an inspirational watch for women and girls around the world.
Davis even describes how she had to learn how to flip a man over her back while shooting in the middle of the night, resulting in a thrown-out hip and back. She was then out for a few days while they shot other scenes for the final battle.
“The Woman King” received many award nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards for best costume design, best acting ensemble, best director, and best actress for Davis’ performance. Davis also was nominated for best actress awards at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors’ Guild, BAFTA Film Awards, and NAACP Image Awards. The film has not won any of these awards so far, nor has Davis. Nevertheless, Davis is an undeniably amazing actress and “The Woman King,” though maybe not an award magnet, is an entertaining film that highlights a powerful group of women that is not commonly recognized in history.