Star Cast: Naidia Moidu, Nithya Menen, Parvathy, Padmapriya, Amruta Subhash, Archana Padmini, Sayanora Phillip.
Director: Anjali Menon.
What’s Good: Menon understands the essence of strangers coming together and forming a bond beyond family. That reflects this time too.
What’s Bad: In the attempt to make it crisp, she ends up chopping off a lot of it and that doesn’t create a product as edged out as it is supposed to be.
Loo Break: It’s a small, simple, effective movie about women coming together and forming bonds, you won’t need one.
Watch or Not?: With some flaws, this movie definitely deserves to be seen. It has the most prolific names and some amazing performances.
Language: A Classic Mix! (with subtitles).
Available on: Sony Liv.
Runtime: 79 Minutes.
6 pregnant ladies join prenatal classes to understand the new phase of their lives. The experience changes things beyond just bringing a life into the world and also turns out to be a liberating doorway.
Wonder Women Movie Review: Script Analysis
When a woman conceives, it is an entire ecosystem around her that is expecting a baby. The way everyone perceives her might be different, but the goal is to see the child be born regardless of the motives. Anjali Menon, a writer who loves to explore relationships that are strained or unthinkable, knows what her superpowers are. She even practices them when she decides to let 6 ladies from different walks of life come together in an almost elite setup, navigating lives and walking towards bringing new lives into the world.
Written by Menon, Wonder Women, a direct nod to the superhero reference, is a small tale that is more personal than universal and consequential only to the ones living it. The screenplay is written mostly inside four walls but the biggest process of the universe, ‘creation of life’, is such a great metaphor. Every woman brings life by putting herself at risk in this world, and the journey to it is so unique for each one of them. In her platter, she tries to weave a narrative that talks about modern parenting, patriarchal gaze, late pregnancy, single parenting, and trauma that sometimes follows the happiest news of life and so on.
While there is a lot happening in a runtime that is too little, Menon is never really in a rush to prove a point and put forth something. She lets her characters breathe. So when Amruta Subhash’s Jaya breaks down when her husband accepts that minting a baby out of her womb was once his priority, but now it is her, and he wants her beyond everything, you feel those tears in your bones. Because here is a woman, who is at first not equipped enough to voice her emotions and has lived a bottled-up life until now thinking a baby will solve all her problems standing opposite her man and accepting her worth. Such a beautiful scene.
Menon sprinkles such beautiful characters all over Wonder Women that doesn’t look at any character with sympathy but has all the love and empathy for them. It also could be the result of a woman telling a woman’s story, but it’s good to see that there is a conversation about a thing so personal.
There are things that do dilute the effect though. The runtime is so crisp that it kind of feels incomplete. While Menon does manage not to let it affect her storytelling, it does in some way or the other. For example, some complex characters get redemption so quickly and suddenly that you want them to have it in a tougher or more fulfilling manner. Take the patriarchal mother-in-law of a character, for instance, she is convinced to be good within minutes killing a very good conflict.
So is the case with the characters played by Nithya and Parvathy, because they get an arc and it gets solved very conveniently.
Wonder Women Movie Review: Star Performance
All the women who have come together in Wonder Woman are powerhouse performers of their respective industries. To say that they get the work done extremely right would be an understatement because they play their parts with utmost conviction. When Subhash as Jaya is intimidated by the new world she is made to join, there is no actor but a breathing fictional character that feels real. Just like Parvathy’s Mini who is silent for the most part of it but makes food her gateway. That sigh when she takes a bite of the meal cannot just be acting.
Nadiya as Nandita brings so much ease to everything she touches. Padmapriya, Sayanora, and Archana all play their parts with honesty and warmth.
Wonder Women Movie Review: Direction, Music
Anjali Menon understands the times she is making her movies pretty well. Like how Ustad Hotel tapped the wilderness in the youth and their guests to run away from home or how Bangalore Days explores friendships without factory-made drama. Here she is well aware that no more is her cinema catering to a niche audience but an entire country and world at large. So she doesn’t pretend to write parts for actors from across the industry but gives them substantial characters to play.
She is talking to her audience through her cinema and it is quite evident.
Wonder Women Movie Review: The Last Word
Wonder Women comes with its own set of flaws but nothing really fades the heart it owns. There is acknowledgment, love and hope packed in a warm and simple tale.
Wonder Women Trailer
Wonder Women releases on 18 November, 2022.
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For more recommendations, read our Ammu Movie Review here.