Great story, adequate movie; The Woman King Review

Photo by: Official The Woman King Site

Overall rating: 3.5/5

The Woman King is a 2022 action and drama film that was released on Sept. 16 this year. It follows an all-female African tribe that protected their West African kingdom, lightly based on a true story set in the 1800s. 

The film was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the story was written by Maria Bello and the screenplay was by Dana Stevens. 

The movie stars the honorable Viola Davis as the main character, playing “Nanisca” in the film. Other big names include John Boyega who played “King Ghezo,” and Thuso Mbedu, who played the character of “Nawi.”

The movie fulfilled what any decent action or drama film should be. It’s worth the time and ticket price of a theater experience—but it wasn’t perfect. 


The story and screenplay were satisfactory. There was a clear backstory, setting, theme, plot and climax. The movie also featured a great plot twist between two of the main characters deep into the movie. 

However, the structure of the screenplay at the beginning could have been better. The character arc of one of the main characters was rather fast and could have been better developed due to the fact that “Nawi,” an ordinary citizen, went from a rookie to a master warrior in just a few scenes; this felt rather rushed.  

Writing rating: 3/5


The film’s directing was well done. It can be easily concluded that some of the industry’s top professionals directed the movie. The action scenes showed great cuts of characters in battle and it focused on different characters.  

The dramatic scenes were often soft and touching, with the camera placement emphasizing the main dialogues with different angles and great cuts to the background environment. The most unsatisfying thing about the directing, however, was that there were little to no aerial shots of the Kingdom of Dahomey. 

Except for a wide range shot at the end of the movie which showed their enemies fleeing on sea, there were seemingly no big aerial shots that showed the entire Kingdom. This made it feel like the entire movie was shot in one location, which isn’t ideal for a viewer. 

Directing/Filming rating: 3/5 


The Woman King used great sound effects in its action scenes, however, they weren’t better than that of any other action movie. Soundtracks for the dramatic scenes were basic and reused. 

Most importantly, for a movie that emphasized so much African culture with its use of traditional African clothing, jewelry, dance and body painting; the soundtrack just wasn’t cultural enough. This may have been that the producers didn’t have the rights to fitting traditional African soundtracks, but nevertheless, it was subpar. Great effort wasn’t put in that aspect of the movie. 

Soundtrack rating: 2/5


This aspect of the movie did not disappoint. The costume designers of The Woman King did an excellent job. From clothing, jewelry and body paint, they captured the overall culture of Western Africa during the 1800s. Great, commendable effort was put into this part of the film.

Costumes: 4.5/5


The cast of The Woman King included big names such as Viola Davis, John Boyega, and Thuso Mbedu as the main characters, three actors with lots of experience in the field who have won numerous awards for their profession. Their portrayal of the roles were superb. 

Their acting proves that they did good character study on their roles. The characters’ body language and their portrayal of how Western African people spoke during the 1800s proved they were fully immersed in their roles.

Casting/Acting: 5/5

Final thoughts

All in all, The Woman King was a great visual adaptation of history. The movie does a lot for African American minorities as it promotes their history in a mainstream manner. It does wonders for women’s rights, based on the fact that the film was based around an all-female warrior group. 

This movie easily inspires women of colour, especially ones who may feel set back in today’s world. It reminds them that their ancestors were strong and brave. 

While it’s not the world’s greatest movie, its message speaks volumes which gives it credibility. 

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