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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Summer 2015-6

Suffragette (2015) movie review

Soldiers for the Vote

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movie poster, Suffragette, Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, Suffragette
Mothers. Daughters. Rebels.

The fight for the vote was a fight for better lives. The British movement was lead by the Pankhursts, but this film centres on the ordinary women who took extraordinary steps to get better treatment for themselves and their daughters.

...deeds not words ...

When this film begins, the British female suffrage movement had been working for at least 50 years. Their leader Emily Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) had come to the realisation that only by direct action against the state would women be heard. Their campaign included blowing up mail boxes and throwing bricks through windows.

Offended by such unladylike behaviour, and the threat to their patriarchal world, the government and the police took to increasingly brutal responses to suffrage demonstrations and marches.

movie still, Suffragette, Festivale film review; 500x333

Anne Marie Duff in Suffragette

Suffragette is an important film because so much female history has not been taught. Young women today often don't realise that other women suffered and even died in the struggle for the vote.

This film, unlike the brilliant but almost forgotten series Shoulder to Shoulder follows the soldiers of the movement, the ordinary women. Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) plays a laundress who works in terrible, dangerous conditions like her mother before her. She is accidentally pulled in the world of the suffragettes and faces the ire of her husband, other women, and her sexually predatory boss as well as the police when she quietly but firmly takes her stand.

movie still, Suffragette, Anne Marie Duff, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter; 500x263

Anne Marie Duff, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter in Suffragette.

The characters are interesting, their trials, living and working conditions shown in a matter-of-fact way, and the story never falters.

These are stories that must be told, and this one is told well.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 2015
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
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See the trailer

Just the facts:

Title: Suffragette (2015)
Written by: Abi Morgan
Directed by: Sarah Gavron
Running time: 106 mins

The Players: Carey Mulligan, Anne Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Grace Stottor, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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