Saturday, November 7, 2015


Movie Name: Suffragette
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Sarah Gavron
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Meryl Streep, Samuel West, Geoff Bell, Natalie Press, Grace Stottor
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Synopsis & Review:
"Suffragette" is director Sarah Gavron's second feature, following her debut with "Brick Lane" back in 2007. Working from a screenplay by acclaimed writer Abi Morgan (who wrote amongst others, Steve McQueen's "Shame" and Phyllida Lloyd's "The Iron Lady"), the film is a dramatic representation of the fight that women endured to gain the right to vote in England in the early 20th century. The film focuses in particular on the figure of young Maud Watts, who at 24 has a young child of her own, and herself has been working in dry cleaning business since she was 7. Maud becomes aware of the effort that the suffragette movement is having in England, and gains further insight through the voice of their iconic leader, Mrs. Pankhurst. She becomes directly involved in the movement through a coworker, the rebellious Violet, who introduces her to the stoic and undeterred Edith Ellyn. This group of women start retaliating, as authorities devise a plan to control and muffle this movement.
This is a film that has a powerful and pertinent (to this day) story, one that needs to be told and brought to attention. Sadly, though filled with a fantastic cast and production values, this film lacks passion, depth and ultimately fails to be impactful. The screenplay focuses on the story of the young Maud, a resilient and fairly quiet young woman, who suddenly becomes this activist, without much rationale behind it. The choices and sacrifices this woman has to make are gut wrenching, yet the film quickly places them at a distance, not allowing the characters nor the situations much time to evolve. The supporting characters are largely characterized in very blunt strokes, with Violet and Edith making for the women in the movement that have more relevance, but never giving them much to do. The film ends up being mostly successful when it focus in the microcosms of Maud's life and how she as a woman learns to stand up for herself. This success can be attributed to Carey Mulligan's heartfelt performance - her sad eyes mask a longing and steely determination that steadily grow through the film. Her character alone deserved a more interesting screenplay, something that sadly falls short. The cinematography from Eduard Grau is great, as is the score from Alexandre Desplat. A missed opportunity.