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Plot
Based on true events, Woman Walks Ahead tells the story of Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a widowed artist from New York who, in the 1880s, traveled alone to North Dakota to paint a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). Her arrival at Standing Rock is met with open hostility by a US Army officer (Sam Rockwell), who has stationed troops around the Lakota reservation to undermine Native American claims to the land. As Catherine and Sitting Bull grow closer, and as their friendship — and his life — are threatened by government forces, Catherine must stand up and fight for what is most important to her.

My Thoughts
Fifteen minutes into this I almost turned it off due to its glacial pacing, but I’m glad I stuck with it because it got better as it went along. One of my biggest gripes is Chastain’s accent, which was horrendous and inconsistent throughout the movie. In fact, this may be her worst performance to date—not that it’s bad, per se, it’s just that she usually nails each role she’s in so good that you get absorbed in her characters. Sadly, the accent is distracting to what is otherwise a very interesting tale about Chief Sitting Bull. The story takes an unexpected turn in the third act that reveals key characters hidden agendas and I like the subtlety displayed by the writer and the director. Unfortunately, the ending doesn’t truly match up with history, but it comes close enough and I understand the dramatic license that was taken.

Video 4.5/5 (AVC)

Audio 4/5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)

Special Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • A “Making of Story” with Director Susanna White
  • Audio Commentary with Director Susanna White
  • Digital Copy





Conclusion
Chastain’s performance wasn’t up to her usual standards, but if you can make it through the first act the payoff is worth the time investment—especially if you like historical dramas. The presentation is excellent, especially the video quality that features some reference-quality scenes. Put it in your Netflix queue or find it at your local Redbox.