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THE WOMAN KING: (2022 Available for streaming on Netflix and Prime Video) The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, an all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world had ever seen. This is the first time the American film industry has dramatized this compelling story. How historically accurate is The Woman King? While most characters in the film were largely fictionalized, a few of its central roles were inspired by actual accounts of Agojie women. Set in the 1820s, the film stars Viola Davis as a general who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies who are determined to destroy their way of life. If you choose to see this film, be prepared for explicit violence. The abundant killings include plenty of throat slitting’s, stabbings, and even decapitations. Barbara and I usually avoid films like this, but it is loosely based on significant historical events that we knew nothing about. If you're wondering why the film is not just called "The Queen,” it's that the people of Dahomey believe in a legend of two kings, a man and a woman who were exact equals. The film seems designed to inspire audiences and elicit cheers. For the most part, it succeeds. The Audience Score of 99% from Rotten Tomatoes is based on over 5,000 viewings. Critics liked it too with 94% on the Tomatometer based on 265 reviews. Dahomey is now known as the Republic of Benin, a small country in Western Africa adjacent to Nigeria. Dahomey was one of the most powerful states in Africa back in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Woman King is a first for Hollywood. It is produced by women, directed by a woman, written by a woman, and cast with predominantly black women. You might think of it as a Black African female version of Gladiator and try to comprehend how Viola Davis could ever have been passed over for a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Barbara and I are glad we chose to see this historical action epic that mostly women brought to the screen. GRADE A

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