Prince-Bythewood’s incredible ‘The Woman King’ is a must see

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Graphic by Demi Sasson ’25

“The Woman King,” released on Sept. 16, 2022 starred Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu with their incredible acting skills.

​​I was completely captivated by Gina Prince-Bythewood’s ‘The Woman King’ and the true story it conveyed. Released on Sept. 16, 2022 and rated PG-13, it brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

“The Woman King,” set in the 1820’s, is about a group of all-female warriors, the Agojie, who served the Dahomey 1625 – 1894, a West African kingdom that is now known as southern Benin. The first half of the movie followed Thuso Mbedu’s Nawi, a 19-year-old girl, and her journey into becoming a prized warrior. The second half focuses on the development of her relationship with Viola Davis’ character, Nanisca, a fierce warrior General, who would eventually become the woman king.

Another one of the many reasons I loved this movie was because of how phenomenal Nawi’s character development was. At the beginning of the movie, she was an immature girl who was abandoned by her father and forced through the King’s doors. But by the end of the film, she had discovered her purpose and became a strong and loyal warrior who could leave her enemies beheaded in the blink of an eye. 

Even though Davis is a big name in the film industry, it didn’t seem like she was overshadowing Mbedu in any way.”

— Demi Sasson ’25

One thing that I found interesting about the Agojie is that the Dora Milaje, the group of all-women warriors in Marvel Studios’ 2018 film “Black Panther,” were based on these real-life female warriors. While watching “The Woman King,” I could see the similarities between the Dora Milaje and the Agojie. Both were groups of strong, independent women.

This movie is still out in theaters and I would 100% recommend it to anyone with an interest in history and women empowerment. But I have to admit, it was a tad bit gory, so be prepared. Only then would I suggest avoiding this movie. But overall I think that “The Woman King” is definitely worth the 2 hours and 14 minutes of screentime.