|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Originaltitel:||Woman walks ahead|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 102 Min|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
One year after the death of her husband the New York painter Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain) decides that the time has come for a new beginning. And so she decides to make a trip to North Dakota - not exactly a place a woman should visit alone in 1889. But Catherine wants to portray the legendary Sioux chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). With her self-confident and open-minded nature, however, the young woman is not well received in the Wild West. Especially Colonel Groves (Sam Rockwell) is a thorn in the side of Sitting Bull and the other American natives. But even if her romantic vision of the West is destroyed by harsh reality, Catherine does not want to be intimidated - until she becomes part of a struggle that is no less about freedom, independence and survival of the Lakota Sioux…
"The woman who precedes" mixes fiction and story into a gripping Western drama. The model for Catherine Weldon was the artist Caroline Weldon, who painted the famous portrait of Sitting Bull in 1890 and became its close confidante, interpreter and secretary. Screenwriter Steven Knight, however, has taken so much freedom in telling her story that you can't speak of a biopic about Weldon or a history film. Rather, the whole thing is based only very, very loosely on true events, so that the first name of the main character had to be changed from that of the real model.
Although director Susanna White didn't give an accurate history lesson here, she managed to create a very gripping western drama, which lives on strong actors and atmospheric pictures - and at the same time shows unobtrusively yet very shockingly that we have made far too little progress in terms of equality or dealing with prejudices. The story told here may have been about 130 years ago, but it has some frightening parallels to the present.
The somewhat too slow pace of the narrative always slows down the dramaturgy that is gripping in itself. But White's staging can counter this with a successful mixture of sensitive character development and strong snapshots. "The Woman Going Ahead" may not be a mass entertainment movie. But as a stirring portrait of a woman who doesn't let her ideals be destroyed by a world dominated by violence and men, the film works really well. And therefore there is - with some small point deductions - definitely one: Worth seeing!
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