(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

The specifics of THE WOMAN KING are fictional, but most of the generalities are accurate, except for the personality of King Ghezo and the position of Ghezo and the head of the Agojie regarding slavery. In the film, they oppose it; in real life Ghezo was one of the worst slavers in West Africa.

But the Kingdom of Dahomey (located in present-day Benin) did have a corps of female warriors, probably because so many males had been killed in fighting with neighboring states. (This corps, the Agojie, was the inspiration for the female warriors in BLACK PANTHER.)

There is a certain irony (to us, anyway) that we know of this corps of female African warriors almost entirely through the reports and writings of white males. On the other hand, for this film the director (Gina Prince-Bythewood), both writers (Dana Stevens and Maria Bella), and the cinematographer (Polly Morgan) are all women, which is quite unusual for what is basically a historical war film. Notable in the cast are Viola Davis as the general of the Agojie, and Thusa Mbedu as Nawi.

Released theatrically 16 September 2022. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

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					Mark R. Leeper
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