The movie takes place in 1912, when British women's voices are only just starting to be heard regarding the right to vote. Our story centers on Maude Watts (Carey Mulligan), a respectable middle-class woman, married with a young son, who works in a laundry. Maude's intial interest in the suffragette movement is minimal, but she finds herself being swept into the movement faster than she can imagine. In an age where women have to fight so hard to be taken seriously that they have to resort to destruction of property, how far will they have to go before their voices are heard?
Also look how bad-ass this poster is though, right?
Cinematically speaking, Suffragette was a fantastic watch for a piece of this usually-predictable genre. It's an interesting genre, reading almost more like a political thriller than a stereotypically emotional biopic. That isn't to say that it's not both, but I was suprised at the actions that they put into play, the conditions in the prisons at that time, the perspective of their neighborhood, and a dozen other things that almost made it feel more like an espionage movie than you would think for a movie that takes place in 1912.
In a sense, this movie hits uncomfortably close to home. I feel like it's less rare to find movies of this caliber when talking about developing nations, or about historical events so far behind us that it's hard to take them seriously. The disturbing thing about Suffragette is how this violent fight for women's rights wasn't that long ago.
This is a film that will have you internally screaming at the backwards minds of the greater population at the time. There are too many scenes of women being silenced by men who view them as lesser beings, or who view themselves as being custodial over women in general -- even the ones that they love. The unfairness of it all is enough to make you want to tear your hair out at certain moments, but also has you rooting so hard for Maude to succeed with spreading the women's message, to make it all worthwhile.
That being said, Suffragette serves as a reminder of the power of numbers. Maude says at a crucial moment, "Women represent half of the population, you can't silence all of us." And she's totally right. Especially today, with the technology at our disposal, one can only hope that movements, like the feminist one and others, can gain the effectiveness of organizations back then, who had to rely on eye-grabbing tactics more effective than Facebook Likes.
My girl Maude got arrested like 5 times.
Not like I'm encouraging people to run around blowing up mailboxes. I think to infer that violence is the answer is to misunderstand the larger message of the film. But if there's one message that Suffragette has for women, and for people in general who have a cause, it's to stand up for what you want. If it's for the greater good, you'll find a following. And if you really believe in it, you have to be willing to fight for it.
8 outa 10. Well made, effective, emotional, and moved quickly. Excellent.