Plot – In 1912 London, a young working mother is galvanised into radical political activism supporting the right for women to vote, and will meet violence with violence to achieve this end – Suffragette.
Director – Sarah Gavron
Released – 2015
It feels a shame to critique a film with such noble intentions, especially one with a cast as talented as this one, however, respect for the message and real-life figures being depicted, doesn’t always guarantee you’ll connect with the film and sadly for all Suffragette does well, including high production values and some of the best acting talent Britain offers and a cameo from The Iron Lady herself Meryl Streep, I couldn’t but find this film about the feminist desire to vote 20th century Britain a lot less interesting than I was expecting.
Writer Abi Morgan and Director Gavron seemed unable to make Maud Watts (Mulligan) an interesting character to follow, with the multiple tight close-ups of her face highlighting the blandness of the character as she gets caught up in the suffrage movement almost by accident.
Even as her activities with the movement ramp up and she can escape her job in the laundry, the growth shown is minimal at best and felt tiny compared to what and who she lost along the way. Not only this but throughout, you’re introduced to much more interesting characters, including those played by Helena Bonham Carter and Natalie Press.
Not that the film is without merit, Maud’s speech at the Houses of Parliament in front of David Lloyd George (Adrian Schiller) is enlightening and the lengths these women went too, to get the vote should be an inspiration to all, despite the regular incarcerations and beatings, it’s just a shame that these powerful moments were interrupted up by long periods of time spent with a dead-eyed lead character, who removes all the interest from the movie
In the end, despite everyone’s best efforts, Suffragette doesn’t live up to expectations, choosing to the suffragette movement in a way that didn’t do it the justice that this slice of feminist and British history deserves. That being said, I still believe we should show this film in schools, to highlight to youngsters just how important voting is and how hard their ancestors fought just for the right.