Women At War is trending on Netflix, and for good reason

Women At War is trending on Netflix, and for good reason

Women At War (or Les Combattantes, if you prefer) is one of the Top 10 shows on Netflix in the UK right now. Here’s what you need to know about the French wartime drama.

Netflix’s All Quiet On The Western Front is the film on everybody’s mind at the moment. Edward Berger’s futile (and fatal) tale of World War I through the eyes of a 17-year-old German conscript has a *checks notes* whopping nine Oscar nominations, not to mention seriously strong odds of walking away with that all-important Best Picture gong.

There’s no denying, though, that it offers up an intensely male perspective of an important chapter in history. Some might say an entirely male perspective. And so I’m urging you to watch all eight episodes of the oh-so-bingeable French drama, Women At War (or Les Combattantes, if you prefer). Right now, right this second. Because it is, I promise you, going to be the streaming platform’s Next Big Thing.

Here’s what you need to know about the trending TV series.

What is Women At War about?

The clue is very much in the name with this one. Set in and around the town of Saint-Paulin in 1914, which finds itself perilously close to the front line, the drama unflinchingly brings to life the stories of four women as they find their worlds upended by all of the horrors that war brings. There’s Marguerite, a mysterious Parisian sex worker, and Caroline, who has unexpectedly become the head of her family’s factory.

Elsewhere, we have Agnes, Mother Superior of a requisitioned convent, and Suzanne, a fiercely feminist nurse.

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All of this means that, while there is obviously the usual period drama fare of romance and mystery to enjoy, Women At War also boasts storylines about wartime brothels, hastily-built military hospitals, sexual assaults, insidious abuse scandals, and illegal abortions.

Watch the trailer for Women At War below:

Who stars in Women At War?

The series features an ensemble cast of rising stars and familiar faces alike:

  • Audrey Fleurot as Marguerite de Lancastel
  • Julie de Bona as Mère Supérieure Agnès
  • Camille Lou as Suzanne Faure
  • Sofia Essaïdi as Caroline Dewitt
  • Sandrine Bonnaire as Éléonore Dewitt
  • Laurent Gerra as Abbé Vautrin
  • Tom Leeb as Joseph Duvernet
  • Yannick Choirat as Marcel Dumont
  • Grégoire Colin as Charles Dewitt

Meanwhile, Tchéky Karyo – of The Missing and Baptiste fame – lends his talents to this panoramic production as Général Duvernet.

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What are people saying about Women At War?

Reactions to the series have been largely positive, with many praising its complex female characters, excellent twists and turns, and unflinching ability to portray “the true horrors of World War I, both on the field and off of it.” 

Others, meanwhile, have thanks producers for adopting a non-exploitative approach when weaving the stories of the four women at its centre. And plenty have piled praise on cinematographers for all of those incredible panoramas of the war-ravaged French countryside, too.

People are praising the wartime drama for its non-exploitative approach to its female characters.

Personally, this writer would suggest that this series is not for the faint-hearted; there is a violent scene some 30 minutes into the first episode that feels all the more horrifying for its matter-of-factness. Conversely, there’s also an admitted air of soapy melodrama to events at times.

All that aside, it’s easy to see why the series has already crept into Netflix’s Top 10 – and in the wake of All Quiet On The Western Front’s success, it’s the sort of series that people will be talking about for a very long time, so it’s well worth jumping on the bandwagon now.

When and where can we watch Women At War?

All eight episodes of Women At War are available to stream now via Netflix.

Images: Netflix

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