Review: Woven

Salome Mulugetaand Ryan O'Nan in Woven

Woven is a fascinating film. It’s about two families in Brooklyn who live near each other and how their lives intersect and weave together.

The story begins with an Ethiopian-American family. They are celebrating the mother, Samara’s (Alemtsehay Wedajo), birthday. Woven immerses you in Ethiopian culture in many ways – a birthday, a death, a wedding, a dinner. I thought the look into Ethiopian culture was one of the things that made the film fascinating.

At the birthday we meet Abell (Tibebe Solomon Borga). He is Samara’s son and a doctor. We also meet Elenie (Salome Mulugeta), Samara’s daughter. Elenie is a counselor.

Elenie is the main character. Salome Mulugeta, who plays Elenie, also co-wrote the film and co-directed it with Nagwa Ibrahim. According to the information about the film at IMDB, Woven is the first feature film for both female directors, and the first Ethiopian-American SAG film shot in United States.

Abell is called away from the birthday party to return to the hospital and dies in a subway accident on the way.

Salome Mulugeta and Alemtsehay Wedajo in Woven

As Elenie and her mother grieve the loss of Abell, Elenie meets the Thompson family. The son, Charley (Vincent Agnello), is acting out in school and goes to Elenie for counseling.

Elenie meets Charley’s father Logan Thompson (Ryan O’Nan) first. They feel a rather inappropriate attraction to each other. Logan gives Elenie a ride home one cold night. They talk more than they need to.

Elenie meets Charley’s mother, Mila (Larisa Polonsky), later and sees the grief and pain that permeates Charley’s whole family, not just the boy.

The superficial connections of being neighbors and in a counselor/patient relationship are not the real story, however. These are complex characters. The real story is unveiled slowly and carefully and is always mysterious and well written. I’m not giving you any spoilers about it here. You’ll thank me later.

I knew from the trailer that there was something mysterious happening in the story. The threads of that really pull you in. I wish some of the details had been spelled out more, but it worked as it is.

The film is available from Prime Video and several other streamers. If you watch it, I’d love to hear your reactions to it in the comments.

Woven poster

Take a look at the trailer.

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