Review: WOMAN AT WAR Is An Unusual, Fun, And Thought-Provoking Dark Comedy


Woman at War is an unorthodox, hilarious, and impactful film about environmental activism. You won't want to miss this one.
Technical Merit

Woman at War is a new Icelandic film from director Benedikt Erlingsson. The movie follows a woman in her forties who sets out to sabotage the Aluminum industry to protect her country from the damage it does on the environment until she receives news of an orphan that she may be able to adopt. It debuted at the 2018 Cannes Critics’ Week and has played other festivals including Toronto and London.

A significant portion of what worked so well with this film was that it had a very surreal feel overall. For example, frequently, an accompaniment band could be seen following around the characters. The movie doesn’t feel the need to explain this, instead just leaving the band as a fun, wacky quirk. This may seem like a small thing, but it definitely goes a long way in making the film more compelling and fun to watch.

Another thing that works in this movie’s favor is its dark sense of humor. There is obviously some humor in the more ridiculous aspects of the film, but there are also some other parts of the script that are quite hilarious. For example, there is a recurring gag about a tourist that is always caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He never fails to elicit a laugh.

woman at war band
Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir in WOMAN AT WAR, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The plot serves more as a vessel to deliver the message than anything else. The script doesn’t really do anything to make the protagonist’s rebellious activities particularly complex. This is likely because the point of the movie is that she is an everyday person that is doing extraordinarily impactful things in simple ways.

The characters in the film are very compelling, and that helps make the story more interesting as a whole. The protagonist, Halla, is a complex, rounded character. The arc she experiences over the course of the movie allows her to grow and gain more sympathy from the audience. Many will appreciate her for her noble quest to bring security to her people and her home even if the methods she uses to do so aren’t the most orthodox.

woman at war choir
A scene from WOMAN AT WAR, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The actors all do a great job in their roles. Halldóra Gerharðsdóttir is excellent in her dual role as the protagonist and her sister. She brings both emotional nuance and humor to the character in a way that is extremely enjoyable to watch. Although the film is largely her show, some people in the supporting cast, like Juan Camillo Roman Estrada and Jóhann Sigurðarson have some moments in which they shine.

In technical terms, the movie is very strong too. Obviously, music plays a huge role in the film because of the band that follows around the characters. The score is relatively complex for such a small instrumentation, with only a tuba player, a percussionist, and someone who switches between accordion and piano. There is also a small trio of singers from time to time. This music goes a long way in setting the tone and overall feel of the movie.

Overall, Woman at War was an impressively-made and enjoyable film. It’s definitely quirky and unusual, though, so if that isn’t your thing, this probably won’t be for you.

Woman at War opens in theaters March 1.


Charlie Gillespie Teaches You to Play “Bright” | Julie and the Phantoms | Netflix

Charlie Gillespie teaches you how to play the song "Bright" from Julie and the Phantoms! Watch Julie and the Phantoms, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide…

Star Trek Day 2020 | Lower Decks Panel

In honor of Star Trek Day, host Mica Burton sits down with Star Trek: Lower Decks Creator, Showrunner and Executive Producer Mike McMahan and voice cast members Tawny Newsome (Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Brad Boimler), Noël Wells (Tendi) and Eugene Cordero (Rutherford). The group discusses favorite moments from the debut season, what it's been like…

Coroner | Season 1 Episode 8 | Bridges Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Coroner Thursdays free only on The CW: SUBSCRIBE: About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico. Connect with…

American Murder: The Family Next Door | Official Trailer | Netflix

Shanann Watts and her two young daughters went missing in Frederick, Colorado. As details of their deaths made headlines worldwide, it became clear that Shanann’s husband, Chris Watts, wasn’t the man he appeared to be. Experience a gripping and immersive examination of the disintegration of a marriage. Only on Netflix September 30. SUBSCRIBE: About…

Moonbase 8 (2020) Official Teaser | Fred Armisen SHOWTIME Series

On this day, JFK gave his famous Moon Speech. 🚀 58 years later, Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker, and John C. Reilly are embarking on man’s greatest mission. Get a first look at Moonbase 8, a new series from @A24, premiering this fall on SHOWTIME. #SHOWTIME #Moonbase8 Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: Don’t have…

‘There’s Two Sides to Every Story’ Ep. 3 Official Clip | Love Fraud | SHOWTIME

We meet Lee, former girlfriend of Richard Scott Smith. Filmmakers sit down with Lee to discuss their close relationship. Watch the finale this Sunday at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHODocs #LoveFraud Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: Like:…

Meeting of the Doctors | Doctor Who | HBO Max

Moderated by Terri Schwartz of IGN, HBO Max, in partnership with BBC America, presents the first-ever, historic meeting of The Doctors: Jodie Whittaker, Matt Smith, and David Tennant. Doctor Who S1-11 are available to stream exclusively on HBO Max. Future season/specials will premiere on BBC AMERICA. Subscribe: Be the first to know more: HBO…

We Are Who We Are: In The Weeks Ahead | HBO

Time will tell. #HBO #WeAreWhoWeAre Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: From Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me By Your Name, We Are Who We Are follows a group of teens growing up on an American Army base outside of Venice, Italy struggling to find their own identities as they move into young-adulthood. Official…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here