Toronto Film Festival Film Review – Karim Prince
The most inspiring film I had the privilege of seeing in the festival was by far Iron Ladies of Liberia. An insightful documentary chronicling the first woman ever elected as head of state in an African country. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an educated, passionate, woman of the people, has the daunting task of rebuilding a nation destroyed by decades of civil war, massive corruption, a failing economy, and the ever present threat of insurrection from deposed rebel leaders.
Armed with her dream team of powerful women, finance minister Antoinette Sayeh and chief of police Beatrice Munah Sieh, Sirleaf must find strategic ways to restructure, rehabilitate, and rejuvenate this dying nation. What made this film so powerful in eyes was the tremendous courage these women exhibited. From policing precarious streets without guns or any type of formal weaponry, dealing with an almost insurmountable debt issue, to calming down riotous mobs demanding pension reimbursements, these astonishing titans of diplomacy, grace, and strength confronted all challenges with civility, integrity, and fortitude.
In the highest positions of power typically held by the opposing sex, these dynamic ladies are formidable heroines in a new era of leadership. Never hiding behind metal gates, political beaucracy, and meaningless speeches, these women not once hesitated to get in the trenches, fully immersed and committed to the restoration of their ailing country. You observed also their sheer sense of vulnerability and humanity. From dancing amongst the people, to consoling the frustrated masses, it was clear that they truly carried the pulse of Liberia in their veins like the very life-line of existence.