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The Woman King | 2022 | PG-13 | – 3.7.2

content-ratingsWhy is “The Woman King” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sequences of strong violence, some disturbing material, thematic content, brief language and partial nudity.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes an implied sex scene, discussions of rape, partial non-sexual nudity, several battle scenes that include stabbing and slashing as well as hand-to-hand combat leading to bloody wounds and death, a few arguments, discussions of slavery and the slave trade, and some mild language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Set in West Africa in 1823: A commander (Viola Davis) of an elite legion of fierce, female warriors is destined to share the throne when chosen as the Woman King. As she trains new recruits, she helps lead them to fight the slave trade and protect their way of life. Also with Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Jimmy Odukoya, Masali Baduza, Jayme Lawson, Adrienne Warren, Chioma Antoinette Umeala, Siyamthanda Makakane and Shaina West. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Portuguese with subtitles and others are spoken in an African language without translation. [Running Time: 2:15]

The Woman King SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A young woman is shown wrapped in a sheet (we see her cleavage and bare shoulders) and a young man returns to the room shirtless (we see his bare chest and abdomen and sex is implied). A young man touches a young woman’s hand and they stand close to each other.
 A woman is frozen with fear when a man removes his face covering and she has a flashback to being raped by the man, as well as others (we see movement and hear grunting). A woman says that she was raped repeatedly when taken captive when she was younger; she says that when she got away she was pregnant and hid the fact until she delivered the child and gave her up. A woman talks about her mother selling her virginity when she was 14, she says that she pleaded for her mother’s help when the first man came, and when the woman didn’t help her child by the third man, she burned him with an ember (we see a scar on her palm).
 Two young women talk about a match having been made for one of them. A young woman says that she will not have a husband that beats her. A man addresses several women as “My love” as he walks past them and touches the hand of one of the women. Women are described as “virgin soldiers.” A woman talks about having no husband and bearing no children. A woman says, “Love makes you weak.”
 A man comes out of water fully nude and we see his bare chest, abdomen, legs to the hips and his hands cover his genitals; a young woman comes out of the jungle holding his clothes and they talk before she returns his clothes to him. Shirtless men are seen in several scenes (we see their bare chest, abdomen and back). Women wear small tops that reveal cleavage and bare abdomens in several scenes. Women wear low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage and bare shoulders in several scenes.

The Woman King VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 – Women with weapons stand up in tall grass and men in a nearby camp arm themselves: the two groups clash and we hear slashing and squishing and see people falling when being struck; a man cuts a woman’s throat (we see her dead with blood on her neck later), a woman slashes a man and straddles him on the ground hitting him off-screen with her fingers with sharpened nails (we hear a squish). A woman holds a large blade to a man’s throat and questions him, and then slits his throat (we hear a squish and see some blood).
 Many soldiers prepare for battle and a woman throws a flaming torch on the ground lighting a flame until it reaches containers filled with gunpowder that explode blowing men through the air and setting a camp on fire; horses break out of their corral, men run out of the camp and fight with the attackers and we see some slashing and stabbing and others are heard but are not seen; a woman is run through and we see a bloody abdominal wound, people fight with punches and throws, a young woman is struck to the ground and she cuts a man on the leg and back (we see blood) and another young woman uses a sword on the end of a rope to kill others before she is thrown over a ridge and rolls down hitting her head and is later shown being taken as a prisoner. Two women punch guards and one steals a gun to get away from a slave auction; they fight several men and one is held by two men, the other returns to help her and is shot in the back twice (we see blood in her mouth) and she dies as the second woman cries and screams. A man sets fire to an auction area and people run around slashing and stabbing others; several bound men are taken to a boat where another man cuts their bindings and they beat and drown the man that had been taking them away. A man on horseback charges toward a woman, she slashes the horse and it tumbles throwing the man to the ground; the man and the woman fight with swords and hand-to-hand; the woman is punched in the face repeatedly and held around the throat and a blade is pressed toward her until she turns the blade and stabs the man in the abdomen killing him. A man holds a gun on a woman, and the man is shot in the back by another woman who then fights two men with a sword dispatching them.
 A woman places a basket on the ground in front of a man and when she kicks it over we see several severed heads tumble out of it; the man and the woman fight with swords, they flip each other and other armed men chase the woman and a young woman through a narrow passage until the women jump from a wall and into the sea; they are shot at (they are not struck) as they swim toward boats. Men are shown chained and beaten while others are held in cages. A man and a woman stand with a two-pointed weapon between them pressing into their shoulders; the woman steps toward the man causing the blade to pierce her skin, the man pulls it away and the woman is victorious (we see blood on their clothing). A man addresses a young woman and when she does not reply, he hits her hard in the face, and she hits him and he falls back onto the ground; he stands up and says, “This girl is worthless.” A man drags his daughter to the doors of a castle and says that he is giving her to the king. Many people are shown in a shelter and we understand that they have been taken prisoner (they are rescued later). Many young women charge through an obstacle course that includes pushing through thorns (we see their skin snagged and bloodied), and climbing a tall wall (one young woman goes back into the thorns to help another young woman and then jumps from the top of the tall wall), they then fight several men wearing heavy masks, and finally cut the heads off straw dummies. Several people are evaluated before being purchased as slaves, and they are doused with water and lined up on a platform; a man looks a woman over, opens her mouth to see her teeth and squeezes her clothed breasts. Men with guns ride on horseback to a village where we see many dead bodies with bloody wounds shown; one man grumbles that they were killed by women. A woman chooses 20 people to be given to a man and presumably sold into slavery. Women train and practice with weapons and hand-to-hand combat in several scenes. A young woman touches the blade of a spear and another woman says, “Never touch the weapon of another warrior.” Trainees are given a rope to use as a weapon and one complains that it is not a weapon; her commander hands her a heavy sword and tells her to use it to cut the head off a straw dummy (she has trouble lifting the weapon and cannot cut the head off the dummy). A bound young woman in the back of a horse-drawn cart rolls off the back and onto the ground unnoticed.
 A woman seems to be in shock and we see that her arm is broken (the bone bulges unnaturally under her skin); a young woman pushes on the bone to reset it and the injured woman stifles a yell. A woman cuts a newborn on the arm and we understand that she placed a shark’s tooth under the skin (the baby cries). A woman cuts a scar on a young woman’s arm and the young woman pulls a shark’s tooth out from under the flesh.
 A woman is frozen with fear when a man removes his face covering and she has a flashback to being raped by the man as well as others (we see movement and hear grunting). We hear about a group with horses and guns threatening people in a kingdom and taking people to be sold as slaves. A woman talks about using her sharpened nails to take her enemy’s eyes out. A young woman cries over the body of a woman and says that she is her mother; she then says that her father had been sold and she is alone. A woman says, “Evil is coming.” A young woman says that she heard that warriors cut off their victims’ heads and melt the skin off. A woman tells a young woman, “Close your mouth, you look like a fish.” A woman says, “I will be the hunter, not prey.” A young woman argues with a woman in several scenes and is disrespectful. A woman talks about carrying a man’s genitals from her belt. A man warns another man that his horses can be bitten by flies that inflict sleeping sickness. A man talks about something being “Against the gods.” During a ceremony, several young women are cut on the arms and we see blood pour into a bowl that is then emptied into a larger vessel while the women chant. After a battle a man says, “We have lost. At home we will be dead men.” People discuss a broken peace and starting a war. People discuss the future of their people and the impact of the slave trade. A woman speaks to a young woman tersely and reprimands her in several scenes; she then threatens to banish her. A woman wakes up from a nightmare and talks about hearing a beast in the jungle. A woman tells another woman’s fortune and the woman scoffs. A woman talks about slaves being used by men and left to rot. A woman says, “Too much change can be dangerous.” Men are shown being carried through thick jungles in hammocks. A person says, “I would step on her head to win a foot race.” A young woman says that her father called a scar on her arm, “The Devil’s mark.” A young woman says that she is an orphan. A woman taken prisoner and held in a cage before being sold as a slave says that she and a young woman will slit their own throats. A woman protests when a man chooses another woman to be a co-king; she yells and storms out of the room. A woman tells a young woman to bathe and that otherwise she will attract buzzards.
 We see skulls on pikes in a couple of scenes. A woman delivers a baby in the jungle and we see blood on the ground. A woman has deep scars on her back and arms. We see bloody wounds being tended to in a couple of scenes. A woman shows a young woman her scars. A man washes the blood from a young woman’s hands.

The Woman King LANGUAGE 2

 – 1 anatomical term, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (obstinate, arrogant, regular old woman, dumb, sloth, silly, banty rooster, ambitious, foolishness, cruel, common soldier, arrogance, stupidity, nonsense), 1 religious exclamation (God bless you). | profanity glossary |

The Woman King SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman drinks whiskey from a flask and gives a young woman a sip (she reacts to the ethanol), a woman drinks something to help her sleep after waking from a nightmare, and people drink in a drinking establishment.

The Woman King DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – European and American slave trade, fear, respect, honor, immorality, bravery, forgiveness, survival.

The Woman King MESSAGE

 – Alone, you are weak.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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