Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Suffragette Film Review

Went to see this film at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon with my friend Aj yesterday.

IMDB says: The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

Still of Carey Mulligan in Suffragette (2015)

In this Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) written and Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, This Little Life) directed film, Carey Mulligan (An Education, Never Let Me Go) stars as Mrs Maud Watts, who gets caught up in the escalation of the suffragette movement when trying to deliver a package.  Realising that she works with one of them, Violet Miller (a haunting Anne-Marie Duff: Before I Go To Sleep, Nowhere Boy), she gets drawn into the fight when she is asked by Alice Haughton (Romola Garai: Amazing Grace, I Capture the Castle) to speak on behalf of the factory workers, much to the chagrin of her husband Sonny Watts (Ben Whishaw: Skyfall, Cloud Atlas).  As she meets and joins the ranks of the movement, lead by Emmeline Pankhursts (Meryl Streep: The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt), with others such as local pharmacist Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter: The King's Speech, Fight Club) and Emily Wilding Davison (Natalie Press: My Summer of Love, Wasp), she puts the life she knows, and the son she loves (George, played by Adam Michael Dodd in his first role) more and more at risk.


This is more than just a film, it is a moment in history that no woman should ever forget.  It is an inspiring piece that sadly shows at the end credits that there are still countries out there where women are still not allowed to vote and I was shocked at how late some of the countries listed gave women the vote.  Although the struggle is seen through a select group of women and their lives and it will not be fully historically accurate, it is a hard and shocking watch at times when you realise the brutality the women were subjected to.  In particular for me, I felt quite angry during the scene where special forces Inspector Arthur Steed (Brendan Gleeson: Harry Potter, Edge of Tomorrow) stands by and watches whilst the women are assaulted outside the Houses of Parliament by policemen and during the force-feeding scene.

The acting is superb, but I feel Meryl Streep should have been given more screen time, as should Natalie Press, as Pankhurst and Davison were the strongest forces in the movement, but I suspect that the director wanted to pull the viewer down to the minutiae of life for the ordinary woman in those times, which Carey Mulligan fully achieved, because although Maud is a fictional character, you wanted to know how her life panned out.

A powerful social tale that brings home how much the world has changed for the better and why a woman should maybe think hard before deciding not to use her vote when there are still many women who do not have that privilege.

Trivia: Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughter Laura, have small parts in the film. This was the first film allowed to be shot outside the British Houses of Parliament since the 1950s. Helena Bonham Carter is the great-granddaughter of H. H. Asquith who served as English Prime Minister 1908-16 during the height of the suffrage movement and he was a staunch opponent of votes for women.

Tagline: Women unite.                                   7/10

#Suffragette  #CareyMulligan  #Anne-MarieDuff  #MerylStreep  #HelenaBonhamCarter

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