Director: Sarah Gavron
Sometimes a movie is more important than good, and sometimes “important” is a stretch. I’m not saying women’s right to vote is an unimportant issue, or something that we should forget was something that had to be fought for, but this did happen one hundred years ago and this movie isn’t Braveheart. I guess any solid moral or lesson should be remembered, and with our country’s current temperament, perhaps we need to be reminded of the struggles of others more than ever, so I don’t know, but the fact remains that Suffragette won’t skyrocket to the top of any lists, be they Great Quality or Integral Message. Instead, it’s an OK film with an OK amount of conviction behind it and will only elicit a moderate slow clap at the end.
England in the early part of the 20th century was a place of hard labour, as the industrial age raged on with an increasing demand for workers in all avenues. The poor in large cities, especially, worked long hours in grueling jobs, men & woman alike, entire families picking up slack to make enough money to survive. But also at the time, women were paid less for doing more work, as men were considered the breadwinners, despite their wives’ extreme efforts on the job site. Wages couldn’t be changed via vote, because no woman was allowed to vote, an issue that was rising to the forefront all across the civilized world. This is the story of a group of suffragettes, ordinary women who put their very lives at risk in order to further the freedoms of their sex.
Again, the moral is there and it’s real, but the ummph behind it is not. Part of that is purely the history of the story; we already know that country after country gave women the right to vote during this period, that it was a tough process, that things still aren’t perfect. In order to love a movie about this topic, we would need something extraordinary to latch onto, something so captivating that it didn’t matter that we knew how the story would end. This movie is not that magical, imaginary something, it just isn’t. Mulligan does a fine job, but she was a bit fakey. Helena Bonham-Carter has a part, but it’s so one-note it’s ridiculous. And Meryl Streep makes an appearance, but then a disappearance. I liked Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson enough, but the entire movie felt fairly unnecessary and unspectacular.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆