Before the 20th Century, around the world women did not have the right to vote. In Britain, lead by the courage of fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), the suffragette movement was taking shape. Women around the country were fighting for their right to be heard and taken seriously. This movie is told from the viewpoint of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), who joins the movement along with many others to create civil disobedience in order for the men in power to take notice.
According to what I have read, Suffragette is a movie that is based on facts, but has quite a bit of fiction that symbolizes what the women endured during this time. As someone living 100 years after the events in this movie, it is fascinating how different things use to be. It is sad that women once lived where they couldn’t vote, they couldn’t have a say in their child’s lives nor could they be looked at as equals in the home. This movie also inspires hope for change all over the world as these women took a stand and earned their rights. It shows that even if change isn’t immediate and easily seen, it is possible and will happen.
As far as a movie goes, the setting, costumes and acting are spot on. Carey Mulligan is sharply committed and her supporting cast (Helena Bonham Carter, Brandon Gleeson) are on point. This movie takes you to that time period and makes you feel like you are in 1912 London and that atmosphere is what I love about movies. They take you to a time and place that you might not have been able to experience. The story is where the movie isn’t so great in my eyes. Yes, the story is historical and educational, but lacks a certain passion I would expect from these actors with this important message. Don’t be fooled, Meryl Streep is in 1 scene for about 3 minutes so the biggest face of the suffragette movement isn’t even really in the movie. This movie basically boils down to women destroying property around London and they going to jail for it. They are beaten and bullied throughout which leaves a feeling of dread for the audience. I’m not trying to take away the dedication and struggles these women went through, but there is a difference between reading about these things in a history book and watching them on a big screen. Watching a young boy being given up for adoption by the father while the mother cries at his feet because she joined the suffragette movement isn’t something I need to watch ever again! It is those kinds of situations that are throughout this movie that do not make the audience feel uplifted as though the fight was worth it. Even towards the end, it never feels like victory as there is very little celebration.
All in all, Suffragette gets the message across and tells people about the struggles that women had to go though to earn their rights. As much as this is apart of history, I’m not sure how many people are going to want to watch a movie that is this depressing. Sure, the acting and the setting makes up for the lack of true “entertainment,” but overall, I’m not sure this was something I needed to see versus reading about in a book. Even then, most of this is fiction based on situations/people so don’t expect a biography. Interesting fact: Helena Bonham Carter is the great-granddaughter of the British Prime Minister during these suffragette times and he wasn’t too kind to women.
6/10 Stars – The acting and atmosphere is quality enough to earn approval, but don’t expect a movie that will inspire or entertain.