Rights, Camera, Faction
As a male I am all too aware that women are always right. Even when they believe Ray Winstone’s name to be Ray Mears or claim that a scorpian is a lobster: women are ALWAYS right.
As a rational human I am amazed to find out that women have only had the vote (in the UK) since 1918 and that was only certain women. It was only 1928 that all women have had the right to vote. It is truly mind-boggling that it is such a recent event.
My Grandma was probably somewhere near the first generation born into Britain where voting was just the norm. She wouldn’t have had to fight for something that seems so basic by today’s standards yet there were people – not much older than her – who would have had to do just that.
I believe that everyone should vote. Even if it’s just to slap a big ol’ “None” across the ballot and a strike through next to all those muppets names. Even so I genuinely had no idea that the right to vote is known as Suffrage. It’s kind of ironic that through suffrage we often get to suffer egotistical idiots for at least 4 years. Anyway; the Suffragettes, as you can probably guess, refers to women who have to fight for their right to party… in a polling booth. The film Suffragette is a based on a true story following exactly this plight.
The main focus of the film is on Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) who is an unassuming worker at a cleaning workhouse. Maud has no interest in being a suffragette until she crosses paths with Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff). From here on she becomes more politically active and more radicalised.
The film charts the journey of her changing beliefs and morals and how these start to shape her own world simply by the consequences of her actions.
She looses her job, her husband, her home and her only child but with the exception of her child none of these are dramatised to good effect. She finds a new job working at the headquarters for the women’s vote campaign, her husband and home is replaced by a family of suffragettes so I felt emotionally detached from her struggle.
Even the loss of her child is underplayed. When the child is sent to a foster home Maud tells her child to always remember his mother’s name. Now, given she is the lead character and this is based on true events you would expect a flash card before the credits to say Maud Never saw here son again or something to that effect. Nope. Nothing. How about the last scene showing her child grown up being proud of his real mother. Nope. Nothing.
What we do get to see at the end of the film is a real film clip from a procession that was made for one of the suffragettes. This isn’t for Maud though. Instead the procession is for Maggie Miller (Grace Stottor) who plays a bit part for 80% of the film. It’s so bizarre that we don’t get to know more about her character and yet here she is at the end of the film as a key character?!
The best character for me though was Edith Ellen (Helena Bonham Carter) who works at a local pharmacy and is a key figure in the women’s rights movement. Edith is clever and quietly confident. She wears the trousers in her marriage not through being domineering but by earning the respect of her husband and therefore his sympathy and endless loyalty to her cause.
Possibly my favourite aspect of the film is its location. There are lots of old terraces and old Victorian factory buildings that really bring the turn off the century to life. There is one shot particular of some washing strung up between buildings that I would have been chuffed to have i taken as a photograph.
The worst part however was how it shies away from showing any violence. I understand that this is a film and at an older audience but with a lack of emotional attachment I think a bit odd shock value would have worked well.
It’s a shame that this film doesn’t feel as important as it’s subject matter. Although it has a number of things that it does well I just didn’t find it as gripping or dramatic as I had hoped which left me emotionally cold. I am, of course, wrong on my opinion here though as the woman next to me in the cinema was crying like a baby and as we know; women are never wrong!
- For educational value
- Excellent setting
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Under dramatised
- Pulls it’s punches when dealing with violence
- Confusing characters