Never forget the struggle, the sacrifice, the perseverance. Suffragette (2015) is a retelling of an important moment in history when women united to fight their oppression; freeing themselves from a life of being seen and not heard to shouting from the rooftops their right to equality.

It would have been so easy to glamourise this film with an overly sentimental script, big musical scores, and an indulgent dramatisation of the moment suffragette Emily Wilding Davison threw herself under the king’s horse in protest, ending her life.

But instead, director Sarah Gavron offers an intelligent and sensitive portrayal of the British women’s suffrage movement without the Hollywood gloss, and this decision certainly pays off. Carey Mulligan is perfectly cast as Maud Watts, a doting mother and loyal character who undergoes a personal battle through the course of the film, facing difficult choices as she becomes embroiled in the suffragette movement and paying the price for her decisions by losing her home, job, husband and son.

Taking back control and exercising the right to speak freely, Suffragette highlights the struggle of women over their lives – and identity – in a male dominated landscape. A very honest retelling which gives time for reflection. 4 out of 5 stars (*****)

At just 23 years of age, working class Maud has already endured a tough upbringing and now faces experiences which would break the majority of people, regardless of gender. While watching this film, I thought about all the privileges I enjoy as a 30-something woman in the 21st century – and to think all this might not have been possible if it had not been for the bravery and determination of these strong-willed ladies. Whether you agree or not, you can not ignore the positive impact they have had on future generations to come – and nor should this be forgotten.

One of the quotes from the film which really hammers the point home is in Maud’s forthright conversation with Inspector Arthur Steed (Brendan Gleeson). She says:

What are you gonna do? Lock us all up? We’re in every home, we’re half the human race, you can’t stop us all.

Powerful language.

It was also a delight to see a cast of who I would term ‘powerful, female role models’ in the form of the talented Romola Garai (Inside I’m Dancing, 2004), Anne-Marie Duff (The Virgin Queen, 2006), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, 2010), and Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada, 2006) as the infamous Emmeline Pankhurst. If it wasn’t for these actresses including Mulligan, the film would not have hit the mark.

This is one historical dramatisation which strikes a chord and hits right at the heart of what it really means to be a woman.

Further reading:

strong as a suffragette

Suffragette

Suffragette Review

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