‘Women Talking’Buckley Lead an Ace Ensemble

The drama by Sarah Polley, which had its world premiere in Telluride, is focused on issues of justice, faith, and awakening among women whose lives have been shaped and restricted by religious tradition.

At the start of Women Talking, a tile card states, "What follows is an act of female imagination." It's a true statement; the film is writer-director Sarah Polley's

adaptation of a Miriam Toews novel that focuses on the women living in a Mennonite colony. But the first few sentences are also a challenge and a taunt

The women are figuring out how to respond to years of planned sexual abuse

years during which the male sect leaders silenced their complaints by claiming that the horrors they had to endure belonged to the realm of demons or the "wild female imagination

" respectively, and kept the women's complaints from being heard. The idea that in movies as in life,

words can be action—and for those who have been denied a voice, they may be revolutionary—is at the heart of Polley's intelligent, empathetic picture.

he women's discussion's intellectual and occasionally faith-infused slant may turn off those who are unwilling to go there. For those willing to take the chance

, the insightful and exquisitely shot film is a gratifying examination that not only confronts the protagonists' dilemma but also the existential issues that any modern woman dealing with patriarchal structures must confront.

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