Months after premiering at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, and weeks after opening in cities like New York and Los Angeles, Sarah Polley’s Golden Globe-nominated dramatic film, Women Talking, has finally made its way to theaters across the country with its long-awaited wide release. Set in 2010, the movie centers on a close-knit group of women in a small and strict Mennonite community as they come together and make a difficult decision after discovering the men in their lives have been drugging and raping them for years, with the core cast featuring one incredible actress after another.
If you have watched the new drama, or are planning to do so now that it’s playing across the country, there’s a good chance you’re wondering where you’ve seen the Women Talking cast before. Fear not, for we have put together a list of the major players in the 2022 book-to-movie adaptation of Miriam Toews novel of the same name.
Rooney Mara (Ona)
Leading off the cast is Rooney Mara, who takes on the role of Ona, a Mennonite woman pregnant with the child of one of her abusers.
This is the latest in a series of tough and difficult roles taken on by the two-time Academy Award nominee (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol), which includes movies like A Ghost Story, Mary Magdalene, and Nightmare Alley. Since breaking out nearly a decade-and-a-half ago with roles in the likes of Youth in Revolt, the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and a small yet powerful performance in The Social Network, Mara has gone on to show up in titles like Side Effects, Her, and Lion to name a few. She’s next set to appear alongside her fiancé, Joaquin Phoenix, in The Island.
Claire Foy (Salome)
Claire Foy appears in Women Talking as Salome, one of the Mennonite women determined to leave their community behind, no matter what it takes.
Fans of the sprawling Netflix historical drama series The Crown will instantly recognize Foy from her award-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II during the show’s first two seasons, though she did appear in flashbacks in later installments. Sticking with TV, Foy has also given notable performances on the likes of A Very British Scandal and Upstairs Downstairs.
Just like co-star Rooney Mara years earlier, Foy took on the role of Lisbeth Salander in 2018’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the same year she appeared alongside Ryan Gosling in First Man. And, according to Variety, Foy will appear in the upcoming adaptation of Taichi Yamada’s Strangers.
Jessie Buckley (Mariche)
Jessie Buckley shows up in the new drama as Mariche, one of the female members of the Mennonite colony who aren’t so keen on the idea of leaving everything and everyone they know behind.
Over the course of the past few years, Buckley has made quite a name for herself with attention-grabbing performances in movies like I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Men, and The Lost Daughter, the latter of which earned her an Academy Award nomination). She has also taken on roles in shows like The Woman in White, Chernobyl, and Fargo in recent years.
Ben Whishaw (August)
Playing one of the few good men in Women Talking, Ben Whishaw takes on the role of August, one of the male members of the Mennonite community.
Fans of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies will instantly recognize Whishaw from his portrayal of gadget master Q, which started with his debut in 2012’s Skyfall. But the talented film, TV, and stage actor has much more to his filmography, including Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Lobster, The Hour, and Fargo. And, since 2014, Whishaw has been the voice of Paddington in two movies, and various TV shows and specials, including one for the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Frances McDormand (Scarface Janz)
Frances McDormand appears in the cast as Scarface Janz, one of the members of the community who would rather do nothing and let things die down.
McDormand, who has won three Oscars for acting (Fargo, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Nomadland), and one as a producer (also Nomadland), has spent the better part of the past 40 years giving one outstanding performance after another, including in multiple films directed by her husband, Joel Coen, such as Blood Simple, Burn After Reading, and The Tragedy of Macbeth. She has also appeared in the likes of Moonrise Kingdom, Almost Famous, Wonder Boys, and Primal Fear, to name only a few.
Judith Ivey (Agata)
Judith Ivey appears in Women Talking as Agata, the matriarch of one of the families tasked with deciding what should be done once the revelations of abuse are made public.
Throughout her career, Ivey has appeared in movies like The Devil’s Advocate, Mystery, Alaska, Flags of Our Fathers, and A Life Less Ordinary, as well as dozens of TV appearances. These include everything from Designing Women to The Critic, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to New Amsterdam. Ivey has also won two Tony Awards over the years, one for Steaming in 1981 and then several years later for her role in the 1984 run of Hurlyburly.
Liv McNeil (Neitje)
Liv McNeil shows up in the film as Neitje, one of the younger members of the Mennonite community who has suffered abuse at the hands of the men in the colony.
Women Talking is the first major role for the young actress, who got her start writing and directing the 2020 short film, Numb.
Sheila McCarthy (Greta)
Sheila McCarthy appears as Greta, the matriarch of another one of the families tasked with deciding the future of the Mennonite colony.
Over the years, McCarthy has landed roles on shows like Picket Fences, Star Trek: Discovery, The Umbrella Academy, and most recently, The Good Doctor, as well as a list of movies that includes The Day After Tomorrow, The Lotus Eaters, Die Hard 2, and The Middle Man.
Michelle McLeod (Mejal)
Michelle McLeod takes on the role of Mejal, another one of the younger victims of abuse rampant throughout Women Talking.
Over the years, the young actress has appeared in movies like My Spy, Honey Bee, and Don’t Talk to Irene, as well as shows like Grand Army, Tin Star, and the latest season of the Netflix series Workin’ Moms.
Kate Hallett (Autje)
Kate Hallett makes her feature film debut with her portrayal of Autje, another young member of the Mennonite colony at the center of the film’s narrative.
Women Talking is currently playing in theaters nationwide. If you want to know what else is coming out this week or in the near future, check out our 2023 movie schedule for all the latest.