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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
The horror takes place before the movie begins but the nightmare is far from over. Based on the novel by Miriam Toews, the story is set in the aftermath of a series of violent, night-time rapes on women and children by the men of an ultra-conservative religious sect.
Written and directed by Sarah Polley, and starring a wonderfully talented ensemble cast, Women Talking is an imagined response of the women after one of the men was seen, the crime was uncovered and police were called in.
So, while the men are away in town bailing out the accused, the women seize their power and talk, high up in a loft, seated on bales of hay. This group of eight will debate the alternatives, guided by the tenets of their faith, and come to a decision the women in the colony will abide by.
The circumstances and personalities of the individual women quickly take shape. Ona (Rooney Mara, never more beautiful) is gentle and beatific, a young, unmarried woman who was raped and now carries a child she loves with all her heart. She is adored by the university-educated August (Ben Whishaw), who left the community but came back and is asked by the women to record the meetings in the loft.
Following the women as they talk is emotionally involving and dramatically rewarding, as they search for a solution that honours their faith and will break forever the power inequity that encouraged the abuse to take place.