The women are their greatest weapons, and “The Woman King” is about strong and dynamic Black women in all aspects of their being, including their minds, bodies, and souls, in addition to everything else it discusses. Prince-Bythewood frames these warriors with care and consideration, paying close attention to their gradations of skin tone. (The cinematographer is Polly Morgan.) You don’t need to be a scholar of old Hollywood, which divided Black performers into hierarchies of color, typecasting darker actors in servant roles, to grasp the greater implications of Prince-Bythewood foregrounding women like Davis, Sheila Atim and Lashana Lynch — it’s galvanizing.
The overstuffed narrative jumps back and forth between personal, sometimes saccharine drama and world-changing events, with the transatlantic slave trade serving as the most profound example. The fact that Dahomey traffic in other people complicates the triumphalism of a movie that celebrates women’s power; however, the story never satisfyingly engages this complexity. Most of the time, the filmmakers navigate the political and moral thickets through Nanisca’s qualms about the trade. She voices these qualms to the king, arguing that he can maintain his power more benignly. The script was written by Dana Stevens, based on a story that she and Maria Bello wrote together. Visit afdah movies and stream online latest movies and tv shows for free.