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The cast of ‘Women Talking’ on the film’s intense, extraordinary exploration of women


Director Sarah Polley’s latest film, Women Talking, couldn’t be more aptly titled.

Out Friday in a limited theatrical release, it tells the story of a group of matriarchs who come together to discuss the years of ritualistic abuse inflicted upon their small religious community.

The film is based on a popular book that details true events. And while star Sheila McCarthy found the script compelling, she told ABC Audio that, at first, she wondered if it would translate to audiences.

“We rehearsed for two weeks, and I think there was the feeling of, ‘Is anyone gonna listen to women talking for two hours? Like, is that going to be boring?’” McCarthy said. “It was dispelled right away because the intensity of the talking was so interesting, and interesting to shoot. And the levity, as well. The air was let out of the balloon a few times.”

To co-star Judith Ivey, who plays the grandmotherly figure Agata in the film, it was an acting experience unlike any other. She recalls describing it to friends.

“I would say, ‘I’ve become a Mennonite. And I have limited wardrobe and I’m also having one of the most wonderful acting experiences of my career,"” Ivey said.

But Women Talking became much more than just a great acting experience for Ivey.

“It’s an exploration of who we are as women, who we are as people. And that’s what made it extraordinary,” Ivey said. “I was finding out about myself as Judith as I was finding out who Agata was. That’s rare, that you get to get a little therapy while you’re working.”

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