Content Warning: This article discusses sexual abuse and violence that may trigger or disturb some readers.
Women speak is an intense and thought-provoking film about a group of Mennonite women who were brutally abused by local men. As the men who brutalized them are freed by other men in the community, the women come together to discuss how they can move forward. Are they running away, are they fighting? How exactly do they move forward? And perhaps most importantly for the viewer, it is Women speak based on a true story? Unfortunately, yes, the movie is partially inspired by real-life events. Here’s what you need to know beforehand Women speak premieres.
The story behind Women speak.
A new film directed by Sarah Polley Women speak — starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Frances McDormand to name a few – is actually adapted from the novel of the same name by Miriam Toews, a Canadian writer who herself grew up in a Mennonite community in remote Manitoba. But the original idea for Toews’ 2018 novel was based on a horrific story from a Mennonite community that took place from 2005 to 2009 in Manitoba, Bolivia. During that time, a group of men, themselves Mennonites, drugged and raped 151 girls and women between the ages of 5 and 65. The men were eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011, according to the BBC, with one man sentenced to 12 years for supplying drugs used to incapacitate girls and women.
It’s a difficult (and important) story to share.
As horrific as the crimes themselves were, the film and the book it was based on do not attempt to describe what these girls and women went through. Instead, Toews said The New Yorker that she decided to imagine how these women might have responded. The Mennonites are considered a pacifist community, but Toews (and Polley in the recently released film version) wondered if there might be a thirst for revenge. Anger. And maybe even questioning their faith. Claire Foy, who plays Salome in the film, said Newsweek that she believed this sensitive material was “in the right hands”. She added: “It was directed by Sarah who is amazing and Dede [Gardner] and Frances [McDormand] produced, and I don’t think you could get a better group of creative people to make this film responsibly and sensitively.”
When Women speak premiere?
Women speak released in select theaters on December 23, with a wider, national release scheduled for January 20. And that’s one you don’t want to miss.