Garnering 100% Fresh Rating over at review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes (as of September 12), The Woman King’s admirers say the historical epic offers an awards-worthy performance from Davis, a breakout star in Thuso Mbedu and impressively choreographed action scenes.
Fresh from its successful premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the initial reviews for The Woman King are now out, and critics are unanimous in praising Viola Davis’ fierce reinvention as an action hero and the film as a rousing, action-packed crowd-pleaser.
“It feels like the `Gladiator’ for Black women, and what a welcome surprise,” writes Variety.
“With the right messaging and awards campaign from Sony Pictures, the film could be among the many consumer-friendly titles in the hunt for Oscar attention.”
The Hollywood Reporter reviewed “Energetic performances and technical precision come together to glorious effect in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s rousing action film. It’s a lush, prime piece of entertainment in many respects.”
IndieWire says “The film is bursting with remarkable elements: a vivid and fully realized setting, eye-popping battle sequences, richly drawn characters, and wonderful performances from everyone.”
“The Woman King marks a ceasefire between two long-warring foes: Action and acting,” praises The New York Post, while The Guardian describes it as “a sturdy, rousing piece of studio entertainment, that makes both the new feel old and the old feel new.”
“Thrilling and enrapturing, emotionally beautiful and spiritual buoyant,” applauds RogerEbert.com. “The Woman King isn’t just an uplifting battle cry. It’s the movie that director Gina Prince-Bythewood has been building toward throughout her entire career.”
Finally, BBC vows that “The Woman King leans toward fantasy in its heroic moments, but is rooted in truth about war, brutality and freedom. It is a splashy popcorn movie with a social conscience.
The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, story by Maria Bello, screenplay by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film is produced by Cathy Schulman, Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Maria Bello and executive Produced by Peter McAleese.
The star cast is directed by Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega.
The Woman King was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on September 16, 2022.