Greatest Films of the 2020s

Greatest Films of the 2020s
2020, 2021, 2022, 2023


Academy Awards for 2022 Films
Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), 192 minutes, D: James Cameron
Writer/director James Cameron's long-awaited, visually-astounding, CGI sci-fi action-epic sequel to the 2009 original film, was again set about a decade later on the distant extra-solar planet of Pandora. Former military recruit Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) was living an idyllic and happy life amongst the Na'vi race with his partner Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their young family (three children of their own plus adopted miracle daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) of comatose Na'vi avatar Grace Augustine from the first film). They also raised a teenaged human boy named Spider (Jack Champion), the son of Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Peace was disrupted when vengeful members of the Resources Development Administration (RDA) from the first film, led by a revived Colonel Quaritch in Recombinant form (he was cloned into a Na'vi body with his memories uploaded from before his death), returned on a colonization mission that threatened the people. To protect their peaceful planet, Jake and Neytiri allied themselves with the Na'vi army. Jake was targeted as a rebel leader (as chief of the Omaticaya clan) when he attempted to save the inhabitants. During Col. Quaritch's mission, he took his own son Spider captive during which time he learned about the Na'vi culture. Fearing for their safety, Jake gave up his chief's position and took his family to dwell with the Na'vi of the sea (the Metkayina clan of reef people) on Pandora's eastern seaboard, led by clan chief Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and his free-diving wife Ronal (Kate Winslet). Jake's adopted daughter Kiri became spiritually bonded with the aquatic life of Metkayina, while their second son Lo'ak (Britain Dalton) befriended the chieftain's daughter Tsireya or "Reya" (Bailey Bass). Eventually, Col. Quaritch tracked the Sully family to the reef people's archipelago inhabited by indigenous tribes, leading to a final confrontation between Quaritch's human invaders and Jake's family members.

Babylon (2022), 189 minutes, D: Damien Chazelle
Writer/director Damien Chazelle's frenzied, fast-paced historical drama with an ensemble cast chronicled the madcap magic and the excesses of Hollywood and Tinseltown showbiz in the late "Roaring" 1920s as it transitioned into the "talkie" sound era. The zany and decadent odyssey followed the tumultuous and dynamic time period amongst individuals at the fictional Kinoscope Studios, that resulted in unruly film sets, reckless drug use, and depraved and perverse drug-drenched orgies, seen in the opening scene in 1926 set in the mansion of studio executive Don Wallach (Jeff Garlin). Both historical and fictional characters experienced personal triumphs and despair when caught up in the rise and downfall of "Babylon." The diverse cast included ambitious, wannabe NJ starlet and hedonistic "It-Girl" Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) (inspired by Clara Bow), Mexican immigrant-assistant Manuel "Manny" Torres (Diego Calva) who was able to survive the chaotic and uncaring time period of the 'studio system,' aging, hedonistic, recently-divorced silent film matinee idol Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) (and Nellie's love interest), seductive Chinese-American, lesbian cabaret entertainer Lady Fay Zhu (Li Jun Li), talented African-American jazz-trumpet musician Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo), and mob boss James McKay (Tobey Maguire). With the rise of sound films and the demise of the "Old Hollywood," troubled and despairing Jack Conrad suicidally shot himself, and self-destructive Nellie was also found dead in a hotel room at the age of 34. Sensationalist gossip tabloid writer Elinor St. John (Jean Smart) commented on Conrad's life (similar to the fate that befell silent film star John Gilbert). The film concluded with a series of vignettes (presented as a montage of cinematic history) from numerous 20th century films ranging from the silent era to the current era.

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022), 114 minutes, D: Martin McDonagh
Writer/director Martin McDonagh's R-rated Irish drama and black tragi-comedy centered upon two lifelong friends and drinking buddies - Padraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) and folk musician, wannabe composer Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson), who lived in the remote town of Inishmore far away from civilization on Ireland's Aran Islands. The film was set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s. When Colm suddenly and abruptly ended their strong relationship bond by ignoring Padraic, his friend became completely destabilized and distressed by the change. Padraic's sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan) vainly attempted to repair the relationship. The situation intensified after the troubled Colm carried through on a gruesome threatened ultimatum, and cut off one of his own left fingers with a pair of sheep shears. During their escalating conflict, Colm announced that he had finished the composition of his folk song titled: "The Banshees of Inisherin," but then cut off his remaining left fingers with the shears and threw them at the door of Padraic's cottage. The life-threatening feud (possibly brought on by banshees) enveloped the whole village. Further dire, life-changing consequences included the death of Padraic's pet miniature donkey named Jenny (after eating one of the fingers and choking to death), and Padraic's burning down of Colm's home - with his friend inside the flaming structure (although Padraic saved Colm's dog by leading him to safety). Later, Colm appeared alive on the beach and apologized to Padraic for everything - hoping that their feud was over, but Padriac responded to his former friend that the feud would only have ended if he had remained inside his burning house. Colm ended the film by thanking Padraic for saving his dog: ("Pádraic. Thanks for lookin' after me dog for me, anyways"), and Padraic responded: "Anytime."

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), 161 minutes, D: Ryan Coogler
Co-writer and director Ryan Coogler's sequel followed up on his spectacularly popular Black Panther (2018) - it was the 30th entry in Marvel's Cinematic Universe. In the film's opening, it told about the nation of Wakanda that was deep in mourning after the unexpected loss of their King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away after completing the original film). The King's Princess-sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) was deeply guilt-ridden by her brother's loss, and a year later admitted to her mother - Sovereign Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) - that she was unwilling to create a new Wakandan king with her 'heart-shaped herb.' The Wakandan kingdom was being threatened, due to its leadership vacuum, and its stockpile of valuable vibranium. In the world of Talokan (of Meso-American origin) inhabited by blue-skinned, water-breathing, underwater-dwelling superhumans, its angry and hateful submariner King Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) vied for power. He issued an ultimatum to the Queen and Shuri, who were struggling to protect T'Challa's legacy and their kingdom. He demanded that they surrender the scientist responsible for a vibranium-detecting device, or he would attack Wakanda. The scientist - later revealed to be MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), was visited in Cambridge, Mass. by Shuri and Okoye (Danai Gurira), the general of Wakanda's all-female force (the Dora Milaje). Okoye was unable to protect Shuri and Williams who were subsequently captured by King Namor, and she was stripped of her duties by the Queen. Namor again proposed an alliance with Wakanda while threatening the kingdom's destruction if he was denied power. When Shuri and Williams escaped with the help of Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Namor attacked Wakanda, resulting in Ramonda's death by drowning while saving Williams. The people of Wakanda were forced to retreat to the Jabari mountains for safety. Shuri ingested her miraculous herb and was transformed into a new superhuman Black Panther to lead the Wakandans. She was encouraged by Erik "Killmonger" (Michael B. Jordan) to seek revenge for her mother Ramonda's death by ordering an attack on King Namor's Talokanils. Shuri's forces were bolstered by a new Dora Milaje warrior-leader named Ayo (Florence Kasumba), Okoye (now donned with special armor), and a new Dora Milaje recruit named Aneka (Michaela Coel). The film concluded with a short battle between Shuri and Namor, resulting in Namor's surrender (Shuri spared his life) and the establishment of a peaceful alliance between them. In the middle of the end credits, Shuri discovered that Nakia and T'Challa had a son named Toussaint who was being raised in secret by Nakia - and Toussaint's Wakandan name was T'Challa.

Elvis (2022), 159 minutes, D: Baz Luhrmann
Director and co-scripter Luhrmann's dramatized, glitzy musical biopic of Elvis Presley charted the life of the rock 'n' roll singer and movie star icon from his childhood and into the 1950s and 1960s, until his untimely death at the age of 42 in 1977. The semi-documentary (or biographical) film, told as a flashback, portrayed the complex relationship between Presley and his manager/huckster Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who often financially exploited Elvis, and provided his point-of-view for the storyline. As the film opened, the destitute and stroke-ridden Parker was on his deathbed in a Las Vegas hospital in January 1997, as he reminisced about his two decades with Presley. Young Elvis (Chaydon Jay as boy) grew up as a poor and humble white boy in the shantytown of Tupelo, MS, raised by his mother Gladys (Helen Thomson). He spent much of his time reading Captain Marvel Jr. (Shazam) comic books and dreaming of a better future. After the family moved to Memphis, TN, Elvis (Austin Butler as adult) became interested in the city's African-American music (on Beale Street), including blues, country and gospel songs. He was entranced by BB King (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Big Mama Thornton (Shonka Dukureh), who sang "Hound Dog." Although Colonel Parker was country-western singer Hank Snow's (David Wenham) agent, he quickly 'discovered' and recognized the promise of the sexy, rebellious, and talented Presley in 1955, and offered him fame and fortune if they partnered together. Presley became a controversial figure, due to many parents' fears that the indecent singer would corrupt their children (with his hip-gyrating RnR dance moves, giving him the nickname "Elvis the Pelvis") and enflame racial divisions and hostility. The film followed Presley's life, including his stint in the US Army in the early 60s, his mother's death from alcoholism, his love/hate of alleged con-man Parker, his burgeoning movie career (beginning with Love Me Tender (1956)), and his relationship with the love of his life Priscilla Wagner (Olivia DeJonge), marrying in 1967 and producing a daughter named Lisa Marie. His larger-than-life fame carried him to TV specials, concert tours, and five years of performances in Las Vegas, all highly-regulated and controlled by Colonel Parker. Personal health problems and Elvis' drug-induced and alcoholic addictions led to a divorce from Priscilla in 1973, and his threatened firing of manager Parker. There were squabbles over finances, and fewer shows due to Presley's physical condition (obesity and drug dependency). His final live appearances in mid-1977 were only weeks before his death at his Memphis' Graceland home.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), 139 minutes, D: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
This free-wheeling, frenetic, domestic drama and comedy (with overwhelming sci-fi and fantasy elements), A24's independent film, was co-written and co-directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The unpredictable film opened with the daily struggles of a middle-aged, unfulfilled Chinese-American immigrant Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) who managed a laundromat. Crucial events in Evelyn's life were threatening to change the course of her life forever: (1) an IRS office appointment for an audit of her business (with cruel bureaucratic clerk Deidre Beaubeirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis)), (2) a troubled marriage and an impending divorce (and the serving of divorce papers) from her eternally optimistic, loveable and meek husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), (3) a difficult relationship with her adult daughter Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu), who was hopeful that her lesbian, non-Chinese girlfriend Becky (Tallie Medel) would be accepted by Evelyn and others, and (4) an upcoming Chinese New Year celebration at the same time that her demanding, reactionary Chinese father Gong Gong (James Hong) had arrived for a visit. In her stressed life, Evelyn discovered that she had the ability to connect and traverse through time and space into parallel timelines, universes and worlds (metaverses). Throughout her entire life's journey, her various individual decisions had created a new alternate universe (or Alphaverse), and within those various multiverses, Evelyn enacted or realized versions of herself (e.g., a martial arts kung-fu master, a movie star, etc). She learned and become aware of the various other universes that would have been available to her if she had made different choices in her life. She discovered that she was able to access skills, memories, and bodies of her parallel universe counterparts. Evelyn also found the power to prevent another powerful being from destroying the multiverse - she engaged in an existential battle with a threatening, nihilistic force known as Jobu Tupaki - the Alphaverse version of Evelyn's adult daughter Joy Wang. Ultimately, she contemplated entering the 'black hole' of an everything bagel - a certain death sentence for her and Jobu that would end all her multiverse lives. However, she reversed course after Waymond's pleas for her to seek reconciliation and peace, and decided to embrace every version of herself to save the multiverse. As the film concluded back in Evelyn's home universe, Gong Gong learned of Becky's true relationship with Joy, Evelyn worked with the IRS tax agent to refile their taxes, and she reconciled and was reunited with both Waymond and Joy, although she was momentarily tempted to return to the multiverse. The film's premise was clear in its ending - Evelyn realized the very real importance of her family and its interconnections.

The Fabelmans (2022), 151 minutes, D: Steven Spielberg
This semi-autobiographic, coming-of-age family drama was based upon director Spielberg's own upbringing in post-war New Jersey (until 1957), suburban Phoenix, AZ, and two locales in N. and S. California (from age 7 to 18), where he lived with his Jewish, dysfunctional parents: computer engineer Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano) and gifted concert pianist mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams). As Sammy Fabelman (Mateo Francis-DeFord and Gabriel LaBelle), the young adolescent boy developed a love for the story-telling power of the movies after viewing Cecil B. DeMille's extravagant, Best Picture-winning The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) with its climactic railroad train crash scene. The inventive young 'Sammy' began his film-making career by creating 8mm home movies, beginning with a re-creation of the train crash. He also was involved in making short films with his Boy Scout troop, and interactions with his family (including his three sisters Reggie (Birdie Borria/Julia Butters), Natalie (Alina Brace/Keeley Karsten), and Lisa (Sophia Kopera)), and friends (including Burt's best friend "Uncle" Bennie Loewy (Seth Rogen), a surrogate uncle for Sammy). During a family vacation camping trip, Sammy happened to capture footage that suggested an unsettling family secret - that Mitzi had romantic feelings for Bennie. Sammy's first major film production was a war film with lots of dead and bloodied soldiers. After another move to Saratoga, CA, Sammy was confronted with anti-Semitic abuse from two HS students, jocks Logan (Sam Rechner) and Chad (Oakes Fegley), who called him "Bagelman." He began dating pretty classmate Monica Sherwood (Chloe East), a devout Christian girl, who encouraged him to film "Senior Ditch Day" at the Santa Cruz beach, and joined him as his prom date. The open revelation of Mitzi's adulterous relationship with Bennie led to the divorce of Sammy's parents, and Mitzi's return to Phoenix. After the breakup, Sammy lived with his father Burt in Hollywood, where he continued his journey into film-making that enabled him to create escapist worlds that were preferable to his own crumbling family situation. Two experiences solidified Sammy's love of the movies - an offer by CBS-TV to work on the Hogan's Heroes sitcom, and a short, nerve-wracking mentoring session (about the importance of the horizon line) with famed, eye-patched, cigar-smoking film director John Ford (director David Lynch in a cameo) in his Paramount Pictures studio office.

Tár (2022), 158 minutes, D: Todd Field
Writer/director Todd Field's provocative, meticulously-created R-rated classical musical drama told about the rise and fall of the title character - Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) - a prestigious, commanding composer and orchestra director who became one of the most highly respected conductors in Berlin, Germany. As a child, she was a piano prodigy, and in her early career became a guest lecturer at the Julliard music school. Continually over-praised, she made history as the first female conductor of a major German symphonic orchestra, and became known as one of the greatest living composers and conductors of all time. The arthouse film's authenticity was enhanced by the score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Her domestic life included a lesbian lifestyle with a sickly female wife- partner named Sharon Goodnow (Nina Hoss) - who played first chair violin in Lydia's orchestra, and an adopted daughter from Syria named Petra. One of the egotistical Lydia's persistent personality shortcomings and faults (dirty secrets) throughout her career was her manipulative, abusive and exploitative moves toward various attractive females. Two incidents suggested her transactional, sexual favoritism toward Krista Taylor (Sylvia Flote), a former fellowship program member (who later committed suicide), and young Russian cellist Olga Metkina (Sophie Kauer). Lydia's assistant conductor Sebastian Brix (Allan Corduner) confronted Lydia about her facade and unbalanced behavior and was faced with threats of being replaced, possibly by Lydia's attentive, long-suffering personal assistant Francesca Lentini (Noémie Merlant). Circumstances spun out of control for Lydia when she was posthumously sued by a lawsuit from Krista and her parents, and a damning New York Post article was published and described allegations against her. Her world-class reputation and steely power were being challenged during the live recording of her latest symphonic performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5, and she was promptly removed as conductor. During the recording session in New York, however, Lydia barged in and attacked her replacement amateur conductor Elliot Kaplan (Mark Strong). With her life in shambles, she returned to her lower-class childhood home on Staten Island, where it was revealed that her birth name was actually Linda Tarr. Later, she was seen conducting an orchestra in Southeast Asia for the score of a Japanese video game series known as Monster Hunter, where she also frequented a massage parlor/brothel.

Till (2022), 130 minutes, D: Chinonye Chukwu
This social history and biographical drama, from Nigerian born writer-director Chinonye Chukwu, told the true story of 14 year-old son Emmett Louis Till (Jalyn Hall) (aka "Bobo") who was brutally beaten and lynched in Money, Mississippi in 1955 by white supremacists during a visit with his cousins. His loving, overprotective single mother Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), whose husband died during WWII, had been reluctantly persuaded by her mother Alma Carthan (Whoopi Goldberg) to allow her son (by himself) to take the train southward from their middle-class home in Chicago for a visit with relatives. In the southern town, Emmett visited a local store where he wolf-whistled at married white shopkeeper Carolyn Bryant (Haley Bennett). As a result, her racist husband Roy Bryant (Sean Michael Weber) and his co-worker JW Milam (Eric Whitten) viciously dragged Emmett from the home of his preacher-cousin Moses Wright (John Douglas Thompson) and lynched him (off-screen). After her son's cold-blooded death, the courageous Mamie allowed an open-casket funeral back in Chicago for the public to witness the horror of her boy's brutalized treatment. In the emotionally-told tale about the emergent civil rights movement through her activism and point-of-view, the drama then followed her long and tireless struggle to seek and pursue justice for her murdered son. During a sham court trial, the accused murderers were found not guilty by an all-white jury. After the trial in the following year, Milam and Bryant - for $4,000 from a magazine - confessed to the murder against Emmett, but due to the double jeopardy rule, could not be prosecuted. As a result of Mamie's activist efforts, however, a federal anti-lynching law was finally passed - 67 years after her son was murdered during the horrendous hate crime.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022), 130 minutes, D: Joseph Kosinski
After thirty years following the original film Top Gun (1986), top Naval aviator Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell (Tom Cruise) was still proving and demonstrating his anti-authoritarian, insubordinate attitude and courageous and daring skills as a test pilot. His luck was supplemented by supportive US Commander of the Pacific Fleet - Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer) (with a case of terminal throat cancer), who functioned as his guardian angel and protected him from multiple threats of being grounded. A turning point in his life - and a reminder of his past life - came when he was called upon by Kazansky to train a new generation of fliers. A dozen elite Top Gun graduates were assembled by Air Boss Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson (Jon Hamm) to engage in a specialized secret (and suicidal) mission to destroy a remote military facility and bunker that housed an unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant. Admiral "Cyclone" Simpson thought that the mission would succeed, but would still suffer "acceptable losses." The trainees included Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's late friend - Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick "Goose" Bradshaw. During deliberations about the mission, Maverick rekindled his romantic relationship with single mother and bar owner Penelope "Penny" Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly). Maverick was forced to overcome his residual guilt regarding Goose's death many years earlier, and the antagonism of the Admiral, and to succeed in completing the dangerous mission without casualties. The cinematography and thrilling action scenes of the fighter jet flight sequences were phenomenal and completely realistic.

The Whale (2022), 117 minutes, D: Darren Aronofsky
Director Darren Aronofsky's very moving, daring, challenging and emotional drama was scripted by Samuel Hunter, who also wrote the 2012 stage play. Actor Brendan Fraser wore a fat-suit to appear morbidly-obese at 600+ pounds, and was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Actor (the film also won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling). Matthew Libatique's cinematography was shot with a classic 1:33 aspect ratio to emphasize the claustrophobic nature of the protagonist's life. The dark, depressing and engaging film opened in early 2016 in the squalid and oppressive 2nd-floor apartment of college writing teacher Charlie (Fraser) in a rural part of Moscow, Idaho. His sole occupation was teaching writing skills to students online (without his web-camera turned on, to hide his appearance as the Instructor - except for a black square). Various scenes in a week of Charlie's pained and trapped existence depicted his isolated, pitiable life in dim lighting, including his continual wheezing, groaning and coughing, struggling to get up to use his walker, bing-eating including gobbling down a complete bucket of greasy fried chicken and choking on a hefty meatball sub sandwich (requiring the Heimlich maneuver to save him), masturbating while watching gay pornography on his TV, and eating candy bars stashed in a kitchen drawer. The reclusive, near-death and self-destructive Charlie's single fascination was reading his favorite, insightful student essay (Spoiler: it was written by his own daughter in the 8th grade) on Herman Melville's Moby Dick, and Captain Ahab's vengeful search to kill the white whale - providing a clue to the meaning of the film's title. Dan (Sathya Sridharan) - the daily delivery-guy for Gambino's pizza, performed a familiar routine that never brought him face-to-face with Charlie - except toward the film's end when he saw Charlie at the door and ran off in horror. Three other visitors made regular appearances in Charlie's apartment: (1) his enabling, no-nonsense, responsible caregiver-nurse Liz (Oscar-nominated Hong Chau), who was at her wit's end when Charlie's blood pressure reached 238 over 134, and he was clearly dying of congestive heart failure, although he still refused to go to the hospital, (2) Thomas (Ty Simpkins) - a persistent, misguided but earnest New Life church missionary originally from Waterloo, IA who kept trying to proselytize and save Charlie - who didn't want to be saved, and (3) Charlie's estranged, troubled, hostile and rebellious high-school aged daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) - a smart, angry teen who blamed Charlie for abandoning her and her mother 8 years earlier, to leave them and have a relationship with Alan Grant - a gay student (who ultimately committed suicide due to religious guilt and excommunication from the church). Charlie's binge-eating followed Alan's death as a way to deal with his grief. [Note: Alan was Liz's brother and had been raised in the strict, Jehovah's Witness-like New Life church, also similar to Fundamentalist Mormons. Liz was the adopted daughter of New Life's head pastor.] Charlie also received a rare visit from his estranged, alcoholic ex-wife Mary (Samantha Morton), who was miffed that Charlie was saving $120,000 to pass on to Ellie instead of treating his own health. As the film concluded, the sad-eyed, broken, and regretful Charlie was hoping to reconnect, to encourage honesty in others, to make things right, and to express his true caring before his final breath. He was redeemed and liberated in the film's final moments when he stood up and was engulfed with a bright white light (accompanied by a memory of a trip to the beach with a younger Ellie (Jacey Sink)).

The Woman King (2022), 135 minutes, D: Gina Prince-Bythewood
This action-filled historical epic and drama was inspired by true events that occurred in the actual West African Kingdom of Dahomey (on the Atlantic Ocean's coast, in the present day country of Benin) - one of the wealthiest, politically and militarily-strong states of Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Threats of European global encroachment and exploitation of Africa emerged, at a time when the Dahomey Kingdom's new ruler King Ghezo (John Boyega) faced a decision in the 1820s - should he stand up and defend the freedom of their people from oppression and the continuation of the Portuguese slave trade from the Oyo Empire, or continue to accept slave-trading tributes (as his brother had done before him)? Ghezo was tasked with choosing a female co-leader - his primary preference was for fierce warrior leader General Nanisca (Viola Davis), the leader of the all-female warrior force of Agojie. In the meantime, Nanisca was forced with independently defending her kingdom's nation against forced slavery by gathering her warriors together. She was aided by Izogie (Lashana Lynch), Amenza (Sheila Atim), and new Agojie recruit Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), who revealed to Nanisca that she was adopted and had a birthmark on her left shoulder. [It was later revealed that in her youth, Nanisca had been captured by a young Oba Ade (Joel Mukadi as youth), raped, and impregnated - the resultant child was Nawi, her biological daughter.] In the film's stirring conclusion, Nanisca was about to be bestowed with the title Woman King by Ghezo, making her an equal ruling partner. However, she was first adamant about conducting a rescue mission for captive Agojie. During the fighting, Nawi escaped and Nanisca killed now General Oba Ade (Jimmy Odukoya as adult). Upon their victorious return to Dahomey, Ghezo crowned Nanisca the Woman King.

Women Talking (2022), 104 minutes, D: Sarah Polley
Director Sarah Polley's religious drama was based upon Canadian Miriam Toews' 2018 novel, that provided an account of serial rapes conducted from 2005 to 2009 against women in a conservative, Bolivian Mennonite religious community. Nine men in the patriarchal Manitoba Colony's sect drugged their female victims (from age 3 to 60) with livestock tranquilizers and then accused the victimized women (some of whom became pregnant) of having exaggerated female imaginations, or that they were suffering God's punishment for their sins. The film with an ensemble cast was made in color, although the colors were super-saturated to make it appear with tones of grayish black and white. The "based on a true story" drama followed a group of women within the secluded colony of religious believers who were practicing their strict faith in the year 2010. The community of women was challenged by a series of domestic and sexual abuse and assault incidents committed by the colony's males against them. A core group of women in the isolated area who met for discussion in a hayloft, some of whom were both angry and self-loathing, decided that rather than submitting and doing nothing, they must confront the crisis and the male individuals who were responsible. The two most vindictive, self-determined, and vengeful women amongst them were Salome (Claire Foy) and Mariche (Jessie Buckley), joined by Ona (Rooney Mara), Agata (Judith Ivey), and Greta (Sheila McCarthy). They were fully aware that they would face serious consequences, such as ex-communication, for taking a strong stand against sexual violence.

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