Film review: Suffragette

Surrounded by controversy and protest, the London film festival has opened with the European premiere of SUFFRAGETTE starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep and directed by Sarah Gavron about the ‘Votes for Women’ campaigns that led to a change in the law in favour of women voting rights. The film is inspirational and I predict it will become a must-watch in secondary schools. I agree with those critics who said that SUFFRAGETTE is the best film of the year. I would add that this is the most meaningful and inspirational film in 2015.

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The story and cast

SUFFRAGETTE is the first feature film to tell the story of the ordinary British women at the turn of the last century who risked everything in the fight for equality and the right to vote. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. The film is directed by Sarah Gavron, who re-teams with her Brick Lane screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), and is produced by Faye Ward and Alison Owen (Saving Mr Banks).

Suffragette movie group shot

SUFFRAGETTE is an intense drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement as they fought for the right to vote, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

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These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalised and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives.

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The character of Maud, played by Carey Mulligan, is one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is both heart-breaking and inspirational.

The trailer

‘Are You A Suffragette?’ Clip

‘We Will Win’ Clip

The verdict

Suffragette is one of those films that touch many chords and has made me cry a lot. Tears filled with emotions… Clearly.
The thought of women going through so much struggle in order to fight for their rights to vote makes me sick. But when you get to see it on the big screen with the aid of powerful cinematic images that feeling becomes real.

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There’s a deep  sense of injustice towards women underlying the entire movie. Abuse of all kind against women  (lower pay for similar jobs to men, no right over their children, physical abuse at work, no right to vote or have opinions in government, not even the right to choose and decide own medical treatments) was a normal fact of life and accepted by society. It often had the seal of approval of unfair law and government.

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Some of my favourite lines spoken by the suffragettes throughout their political campaigns shown in the film include:
‘If you want me to respect the law, make the law respectable’
‘Deeds, not words’
‘We will never surrender, never give up the fight ‘

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You will walk out of the cinema filled with incredibly powerful feminist messages that deeply resonate at a time of revolution in those countries were women are still fighting for their basic rights.

London Mums’ rating

8/10

Suffragette is a film both adults and teenagers should watch more than once. It is not just highly educational showing important historical events but it also allows new generations to think about rights we enjoy which our great grandparents have fought for.

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Only after actions were taken and ultimately the death of Emily Davison who sacrificed herself for the cause, women in the UK have been able to vote (since 1918). In other Western countries this happened after the WW2 in 1945 (like in Italy) but there are countries such as Saudi Arabia where governments are starting thinking about it now.

Suffragette opens in the UK on 12 October 2015.

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