Inspired by Suffragette, a group of young women had burst onto and laid down in the middle of the red carpet, they were protesting cuts to domestic violence and cuts to women’s services. This was the red carpet of the European Premiere of at the opening gala of London Film Festival 2015 with the back-drop of a perfectly suited movie about the foot soldiers of the feminist movement, the fight for women’s votes and a protest for change. Helena Bonham Carter said this was a “perfect response to our film” and Carey Mulligan described it as “awesome”.
In Suffragette we see the story of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) and her wish to fight for the vote for women while trying to uphold her home life, maintain a relationship with her husband and to be a mother to her child. Maud was spurred on by Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter) and Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) while being inspired by the leader of the British suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep). The civil and socially acceptable actions of these women were not being listened to, so they had no choice but to turn to violent and anti-social behaviour. With time in prison and rumours of Maud’s actions, we saw her lose loved ones and witnessed the disastrous impact on her life.
Although there may be some dramatisation and exaggeration to give the movie a bigger impact, you do have to realise that much of this movie is accurate and is a very real reflection of this movement. The way the story was told really bought you into the life of Maud Watts and made the story feel very real. Watching Carey Mulligan’s character speak in the Houses of Parliament was a moment of acting brilliance and did bring a sense of how women were being treated in very real terms such as working environment, pay and hours.
The movie was visually spectacular, however very dark. I understand that the fashion of the early 1900’s weren’t exactly florescent, but I just wish someone turned a light on. It started to go from an effect to an annoyance. I was genuinely struggling to see what was going on at points. In addition to the lack of lightbulbs on set, we really didn’t see much of Meryl Streep’s character, Emmeline Pankhurst. I would have thought that Emmeline, a major motivator and catalyst for this movement, would have had more than one speech and probably three minutes of screen time.
At the end of the movie we see a list of dates and countries move down the screen – The dates in which votes for women became legal in other countries. It’s horrible to think that other countries in this world have to face the same problems and fight the same fight as what I just watched in this movie.
All in all, Suffragettes is a good film. There are some areas for improvement in my opinion, but it did really bring across the message and shed light onto the crucial movement that took place.