Five years after the #MeToo movement went viral, “Women Talking” has found new ground to discuss.

The star-studded ensemble film stars Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Judith Ivey, and Sheila McCarthy as members of a remote religious community who are forced to debate next steps after their community is plagued with sexual assault. Based on Miriam Toews’ novel, “Women Talking” is written and directed by Sarah Polley.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a film made like this before,” actress Foy exclusively told IndieWire during the film’s New York Film Festival premiere. “It exists in its own world. It’s a fable. It invites real conversation with an audience. I have never been a part of a film that has such conversation around it, and the conversation is really interesting.”

Emmy winner Foy continued, “It’s not zeitgeist-y. It’s not been made because of a particular time. This film could not have been made 10 years ago, but that does not mean that it’s only been made now because it’s latching onto something. This story is basically as old as time, unfortunately.”

Foy credited writer-director Polley for having a “conviction” and being “so clear-sighted” about the film’s message.

Mara echoed that “Women Talking” inspires “difficult, nuanced” discussions and “asks a lot of questions that I think some people are maybe scared to ask.”

Co-star McCarthy explained, “I think a lot of the #MeToo movement is experienced by women alone, and I think what this movie is about is women coming together and sharing their stories together and then being collectively able to change their lives and move forward. That is the important lesson for anybody: We are not alone. This movie is living proof that if you come together and share as a community, change can happen.”

McCarthy praised Polley’s vision, calling her a “master in directing” who was “loyal to the story and never compromised.”

Polley enlisted sexual assault trauma therapist Dr. Laurie Haskell to be on set at all times since the film deals with sensitive subject matter that could be emotionally triggering.

“I think it’s great if you’re dealing with subject matter that can bring up a lot of stuff for a lot of people, like the subject in this film brings up stuff from people of all genders on our set, so just having that container and somebody who really knows how to create a safe space for things to come up and deal with productively I think is a really great idea,” Polley said. “So my gut would be, it’s not a bad idea to have a therapist on set generally. On almost every shoot I’ve been on, it can definitely be utilized by cast and crew at all times.”

Additional reporting by Vincent Perella.

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