The Woman King: how to watch, awards and everything we know about the Viola Davis film

Viola Davis and John Boyega sitting alongside one another in The Woman King film
Viola Davis and John Boyega star in The Woman King (Image credit: Ilze Kitshoff/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

The Woman King once again proves that Viola Davis is an acting chameleon. For her to be able to go from playing a housekeeper, to a housewife, to a no-nonsense attorney, to the leader of a band of supervillains, to the leader of an actual blues band to a First Lady, is simply remarkable. 

Now in her latest role, Davis is tackling yet another character that showcases her amazing range of talent and could put her in the conversation for an Oscar nomination. 

Here’s everything we know about The Woman King. 

How to watch The Woman King

The Woman King is still playing in select movie theaters but is also available to rent through digital on-demand at home. Read this for more information on how to watch The Woman King.

The Woman King awards and nominations

Check out the major awards and nominations that The Woman King has received:

Golden Globes

  • Best Actress: Drama — Viola Davis (nominee)

Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Actress — Viola Davis (nominee)
  • Best Acting Ensemble (nominee)
  • Best Director — Gina Prince-Bythewood (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design — (nominee)

National Board of Review

  • Top 10 Film

American Film Institute

  • AFI Movie of the Year

People's Choice Awards

  • Female Movie Star of 2022 — Viola Davis (nominee)

The Woman King plot 

When the Black Panther was released in theaters back in 2018, moviegoers couldn’t rave enough about the king of Wakanda’s fierce group of protectors the Dora Milaje. On-screen, their combat skills were revered by all they came in contact with. Off-screen, many people applauded these fictional women warriors for often handily defeating their opponents, sans superpowers. But what if we told you the Dora Milaje were inspired by real people? 

As discussed in Time, the Marvel characters were clearly inspired by the all-women military corps of Dahomey, West Africa. Due to their special kind of abilities, the nation of Dahomey was once a powerful nation. Now individuals of today have the opportunity to see their real story come to life. 

Sony describes the plot of The Woman King as the following: 

"The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life."

The Woman King cast 

Viola Davis as General Nanisca leading the Agojie in The Woman King

(Image credit: Sony)

Anchoring the cast as General Nanisca is none other than Academy-Award-winning actress Viola Davis. During her career, Davis has delivered some truly phenomenal performances in both film and television that have earned her the admiration of her peers, the awards of various organizations and the fanfare of countless people around the world. On her resume are projects like Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Suicide Squad and How to Get Away with Murder

Speaking on her new role, Davis told Variety

"I’ve never had a role like this before. It’s transformative. And to be a producer on it and to know that I had a hand in bringing it to fruition... There’s always a vision you have for your career, but there are very few roles as an actress of color. Dark skin with a wide nose and big lips. I’m just gonna continue to say it. Those stories are extraordinarily limited."

Joining Davis in The Woman King as King Ghezo is actor John Boyega. The BAFTA-winner is no stranger to starring in high-profile films, having been in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker and Pacific Rim: Uprising

Rounding out the main cast of the movie are Thuso Mbedu (The Underground Railroad), Lashana Lynch (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), Sheila Atim (The Underground Railroad) and Hero Fiennes Tiffin (After We Collided). 

The Woman King trailer 

One thing is clear from this trailer, Viola Davis as General Nanisca is not to be messed with.  

The Woman King reviews

As of September 15, The Woman King had a Rotten Tomatoes score of 96% and a Metacritic score of 72%. What to Watch's The Woman King review calls the movie a "stunning adventure" and must see cinema that changes how historical period dramas are told.

Check out some other critics' thoughts on The Woman King:

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: "Viola Davis owns The Woman King, a movie every bit as majestic and monumental as its title implies."

Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune: "This is a film driven by what makes its characters and conflicts tick. It’s freely fictionalized, and some of it’s overpacked. But The Woman King feels human-made, not machine-learned."

The Woman King runtime

The film has a runtime of two hours and fifteen minutes. 

The Woman King rating

The Woman King has a rating of PG-13 in the US and 15 in the UK. 

The Woman King director 

At the helm of The Woman King ship is director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood is no stranger to Hollywood having directed a number of episodes of various shows including The Bernie Mac Show, Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, Cloak & Dagger and Shots Fired. She also directed the movies The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights and Love & Basketball.  

Terrell Smith

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.