Suffragette: Review

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In early 20th century Britain, the cause of equality for women was ignored by media and politicians.

Desperate to get their voices heard, the ‘suffragettes’, a movement of women fighting for the right for women to have the vote, decided that as peaceful protests were not working, enough was enough and they would turn to militant tactics, which quickly escalated to violence such as window breaking, bomb making and arson.

Womens fight for equality, in 1912 and 1913, is depicted in the recently released movie Suffragette.

I greatly anticipated going to see Suffragette the movie and was disappointed that in the first few days of release there were only 4 people including me in the theatre. I tried to justify this by reminding myself that it was a week day, but still felt bemused that the public were not flocking to see a movie that portrays such an important event in British history.

In just over a century of cinema, the film promises to be the most significant account of the movement for suffrage released to a wide audience.

Suffragette is the first ever movie to have been allowed to film inside the Houses of Parliament.

The story of the suffragettes is told in a way that even those who know very little about their history, will by the end of the movie have an understanding of the desperation and suffering endured by those brave women in the name of equality.

The torture and abuse scenes are enough to shock and make you squirm in your seat, however muted enough to realise why the movie has been rated a 12A and not 16.

It was a particularly painful family scene, that for me was the most poignant and difficult to watch causing a wave of emotion that comes flooding back, when I think of the suffragettes and what they endured.

Carey Mulligan played the fictional character Maud and her initial hesitation to join the suffragette movement only added to her believability and the feeling of sympathy for the tragic circumstances she finds herself in.

Even the pivotal moment, that anyone who knows anything about the suffragettes is expecting, when Emily Wilding Davison throws herself in front of the King’s racehorse, though enough to make me draw breath and exclaim out loud, did not stir up the raw emotion I felt when Maud the key character suffers a devastating situation due to her involvement with the suffragettes.

The set, the costumes and the quality acting brought each character to life. I felt akin to the suffragettes, angry at their opponents and wished I could have lived in those times and had the opportunity to fight alongside them.

Brendan Gleeson plays Inspector Steed who kept me on tenterhooks as to his potential empathy for the suffragettes and his views on the severity of the punishments

I was struck how few early suffragettes there actually were and that they were not just fighting for the right to vote, but for the right not to be abused, the right for equal pay and the right to not be considered the property of their husbands.

Meryl Streep was perfectly cast as Emmeline Pankhurst and despite her brief few minute appearance brought Emmeline’s character to life with her commanding, charismatic portrayal of the role.

Helena Bonham Carter’s husband supported the cause of the suffragettes and reminded me of today’s ‘White Ribbon Ambassadors’ men who are not afraid of standing up for the rights of women and the right to equality for all people, whoever and wherever they are from.

Late in the film we are treated to scenes of the original suffragettes. I would have liked to have seen more , they were emotive and added to the depth of feeling I already felt for the suffragettes.

Missing were the famous scenes of the suffragettes chaining themselves to the railings outside the Houses of Parliament, however the scenes of force feeding, abuse and desperation, fuelled a personal desire, a passion to continue the fight for equality and a longing to know that in my life I have made a difference, however, small that may be.

Suffragette – a must see for everyone.

Personally, I think 12 is a little too young to take children, a few of the scenes are quite disturbing and as much as I would like to take my children and I most certainly will, I plan to wait until they are 15 and more able to deal with these kind of scenes.

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