Review of The Woman King (2022)

The Woman King is an epic movie that features the Dahomey tribe’s Agojie, a historical all-female military unit. At the film’s beginning, these women save fugitives from various tribes in Western Africa in a thrilling action sequence to immediately capture the audience’s attention. At the same time, the lead of the movie, a teenage girl named Nawi, who Thuso Mbedu plays, struggles against her society’s standards for women; She does not want a husband or to “cook and clean” for anyone. As it is customary for the unruly girls of the tribe, Nawi’s father brings her to the palace gates. He puts her into the Agojie training regimen alongside most fugitives from the first scene. There, Nawi meets a few other future and current Agojie and trains in hopes of being a part of the elite unit. While the Agojie training is incredibly grueling, and she must pass the final test by learning to listen to her superiors. Nawi is terribly resilient, and she passes the exam, even catching the attention of General Nanisca, played by Viola Davis. By becoming closer to King Ghezo, who John Boyega plays, Nawi learns about Dahomey’s involvement in the Atlantic Slave trade and their vow to end it. During this, she meets Malik, a half-Dahomey merchant from Brazil played by Jordan Bolger, and she nearly forgets that the Agojie are forbidden to fall in love, marry, and have children as she gets to know him. Meanwhile, General Nanisca must figure out why Nawi seems so familiar and battle her past mistakes and accidents. All of this cultivates a highly satisfying action sequence and an exciting ending. Overall, this movie was very well written and acted, so while watching it at the theatre, I was constantly engaged and excited to see what would happen next. Also, I genuinely felt each of the character’s emotions. While the twists were somewhat predictable, they were executed excellently, so I was not disappointed watching them play out. Although I was a big fan, there was a controversy over the movie’s plot. Many historians have called out The Woman King, claiming that it was inaccurate despite its historical claim. Critics specifically cited King Ghezo’s apparent opposition to slavery as incorrect because, in history books, he was one of the most vicious slavers in West Africa. There were also numerous claims that most of the characters in the movie did not exist in real life. As the word spread that the movie was inaccurate, people started doing their research and found more inaccuracies in the film. Despite this, many have continued to enjoy the movie. The Woman King was a remarkable movie that I encourage people to see, though I caution against assuming everything from the movie is factual.