After a string of stellar films with Away from Her, Take This Waltz, and Stories We Tell, actor-turned-director Sarah Polley stepped away from movie-making for nearly a decade. The Canadian artist will now be making a triumphant return with a major project, an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ bestseller Women Talking that has assembled quite a cast.

Led by Frances McDormand, the rest of the ensemble has been unveiled with Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McLeod, Ben Whishaw, and newcomers August Winter, Liv McNeil, Kate Hallett, Deadline reports. Backed by MGM’s Orion Pictures and Plan B Entertainment, the film follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

Check out the novel’s official synopsis below and pick up the book here.

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women―all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in―have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

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