(3 / 5)
Jessica Chastain has become one of my favorite actresses in the last few years. Molly’s Game, Miss Sloane, and Zero Dark Thirty have shown that she can hold a frantic and intense picture by sheer charisma. Her presence alone has led me to seek out her lesser known or supporting roles. In a world where true A-list actors lose their appeal, Chastain continues to find new roles that show well-developed female characters.
Chastain stars as Catherine Weldon, a widower painter in the 1890s in Woman Walks Ahead. After the passing of her husband, Catherine decides to leave Brooklyn for the quite frontier in hopes of painting the revered Chief Sitting Bull. She quickly witnesses firsthand the ordeals the Native Americans suffer by the hands of the people looking to relocate the tribes. As she learns of Sitting Bull’s story, she begins to advocate for their rights and aide them in surviving the upcoming hardships, natural and otherwise.
Like the superb Hostiles, Woman Walks Ahead is a meditative western that grounds itself in rich characters and depth. Despite the true story it is based on however, the film falls too much on Chastain to keep the engagement of the audience. It’s thoughtful and respectful of the story to a fault.
Like The Zookeeper’s Wife, we have another true story that Chastain seems determined to bring to life. If only these stories could match the passion she pours into her roles. An adaptation that encourages more research into the works of Catherine Weldon. 3 out of 5 stars