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  • This film is a fictionalized story of a woman caught up in the suffrage movement in Britain in the early 20th century. Carry Mulligan plays Maud Watts...a woman who slowly comes into the movement and the sacrifices she personally made as a result.

    I noticed that a few of the reviews on IMDb hated the film and by the way they worded the reviews, they seemed upset that women earned the right to vote or thought women never had fight to achieve this!! Strange...very strange. Women DID have to fight and fight hard to earn their rights and the film does a very nice job of it. Why anyone would give the film a 1 or see it as some lie is just baffling...and ignorant of British history. The fictionalized life of Carry Mulligan's is essentially true of many women and the horrific event concerning Emily Davison DID occur in 1913....so why hate that the film dramatizes this?

    Overall, the film is extremely compelling and very emotional to watch. Seeing women abused and mistreated is tough....and should grab your heart. Well acted and worth seeing. My only complaint is ts are that the film, at times, is a bit sterile...which is odd considering the events. And, it uses a modern device I hate--the roving camera (hold that camera still #@&@#%^...it's NOT arsty to have bad camera work--particularly on closeups). Still, well worth seeing-- particularly for teens to realize how bad things were and how far we've come.
  • It can be risky critiquing a film homage to heroines of feminism, especially one with a star cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw and a Meryl Streep cameo. Respect for the cause, however, does not guarantee respect for the film, and this one chooses a very limited lens with which to view this episode of history. It does have high production values, narrative authenticity and sensitivity for the feminist struggle in early 20th century Britain. But it gets lost in balancing the broader sweep of history that shapes gender relations and the impact of particular individuals.

    The story line is uni-linear, the atmosphere dark and claustrophobic, and much of the acting is melodramatic, with long close-ups of Mulligan's finely nuanced expressions recording her progress from an abused laundry worker to what today would be called a radicalised political terrorist. The historical lens is so myopic that you could walk away believing the vote was won by a few protesting women, the bombing of some public letterboxes and a suffragette who threw herself under the King's horse. No more struggle…job done! Of course, that is not true and the struggle continues.

    Despite these limitations, it's a finely crafted British film. The fictional heroine Maude Watts is an avatar for the British working class women who risked everything, including their lives, in fighting for the vote. Men of all classes are the demons of this tale, and one of its chilling insights is how the most dangerous enemies of suffragettes were husbands. Patriarchal governments left it to ordinary menfolk to sort out their unruly women in an era where wives were legally subordinate to husbands. Maude's contempt for her treatment at work and home propels her into the swirling orbit of violent protest where "war is the only language men listen to". Evicted by her husband for shaming him, she is left with nothing; by law, even her son was her husband's property. During the struggles, over one thousand British women were imprisoned and treated shamefully, a fact only acknowledged in the film's closing credits. Admittedly, historical judgement is difficult to translate into cinematic language, but many films have done it better. If you are interested in the history of feminist struggle from the viewpoint of the small people who made up the bigger story you will like this film.
  • Years ago the BBC did a series SHOULDER TO SHOULDER (1974) that told the story of the origins and development of the Women's Movement in Britain, with special attention paid to the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union).

    Sarah Gavron's film revisits the same territory as it tells the story of the gradual awakening of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) as she sets her marriage and family aside in favor of the Women's Movement. The crux of the action centers around the death of Emily Wilding Davison (Natalie Press) at the 1913 Derby, as she stepped out in front of the horses finishing the race and was crushed to death.

    In view of the film's earnestness of purpose, it seems a shame to criticize it. However there are certain jarring elements that do stand out. Abi Morgan's screenplay seems uncertain whether to focus on the political or the familial elements. Maud's husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw) is just too placid a personality to become truly angry about his wife's decision to embrace the Suffagette cause, and the emotional scene where he decides to let his son George (Adam Michael Dodd) to for adoption is straight out of KRAMER VS. KRAMER.

    Director Gavron seems too concerned with showing tight close-ups of Mulligan's face as she struggles her way through a dead-end job at the local laundry. Hence we get little sense of the slave-like existence pursued by most working-class women at that time. Meryl Streep, in the cameo of role of Emmeline Pankhurst, simply reprises her Margaret Thatcher turn in THE IRON LADY (2011).

    On the other hand, the film does have its moments, especially when Maud goes to the Houses of Parliament and ends up talking about her life in front of David Lloyd George (Adrian Schiller). We get the sense of how much courage it takes to speak up in front of a group of unsympathetic middle-aged men. Helena Bonham Carter is quite surprisingly good as Edith Ellyn, especially in a sequence where she and her co- conspirators plan to blow up a private property constructed for Lloyd George's personal pleasure. The way Edith grinds up the gunpowder reveals her inherent anger at the ways in which women are treated.

    The ending is also powerful, as Gavron fades out from the film into faded black-and-white films of Emily Davison's actual funeral taken in 1913. Through this technique we are made aware of the film's importance to an understanding of British social history.
  • Whilst most men would agree that giving women the vote was a dreadful mistake (put that stone down ladies…. it's just a joke), the astonishing story behind the UK social upheaval that was the Suffragette movement is well overdue a serious cinematic treatment. And a serious treatment Sarah Gavron's new film most certainly is: you exit the cinema feeling about as wrung out as the linen in the heroine Maud's workhouse-style laundry.

    Carey Mulligan plays Maud Watts, an ordinary and anonymous working woman who progressively gets sucked into the anarchic rabble-rousing of an East-end branch of the Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). With operations run out of a chemist's shop by Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter) and her sympathetic husband, Maud risks a criminal record and the shame associated with that to pursue her ideals. Police pressure is applied by special forces copper Arthur Steed (Harry Potter's Brendan Gleeson) and personal pressure is put on her by her husband (played by Ben Whishaw, soon to be seen again as 'Q') and her alleged fitness to be a mother to their young son George (Adam Michael Dodd). As politicians continue to ignore the issue, the actions build to one of the most historic events of the period.

    The struggle is seen very much through the limited prism of this select group of women. But where I really liked this film is in the slow awakening of Maud's character. In many ways it is like the germination of a seed that we are seeing on the screen. She starts without any interest in the movement and even mid-way through the film she is adamant that she is "not a suffragette", despite evidence to the contrary. Mulligan is, as always, completely brilliant in the role.

    The supporting cast are all strong with Gleeson being particularly watchable as the lawman with a grudging respect for Maud and her cause. Meryl Streep makes a powerful cameo as Emily Pankhurst: but it is a short and sweet performance. Maud's friend Violet (Anne-Marie Duff) is also outstanding, her gaunt face delivering a haunting performance.

    Whilst there are some highly emotionally charged scenes in the film, in a political sense the film has a curious lack of passion at times. A keynote speech to Lloyd George for example should have been electric - yet the Abi Morgan's script doesn't quite do the scene justice and if I was the MP I wouldn't have been impressed (which perhaps was the point).

    I also had issues with some of the cinematography. Carey Mulligan has such an expressive and photogenic face that extreme close ups should work brilliantly. And yet filming it with a hand-held camera produces a constantly shifting image which was extremely distracting. Elsewhere in the art department though 1912 London is beautifully recreated, through both special effects, costume and make-up.

    Alexandre Desplat delivers a touching score with a clever underlying drumbeat of change.

    Suffragette is a solid historical drama, that tells an important social tale… a tale that graphically illustrates how much the world has really changed, and changed for the better, in a mere hundred years. Above all, the film concludes with the astounding fact that Switzerland only gave women the vote in 1971 (and in fact with one canton holding out on local issues until 1991). Shameful!

    (Please find the full graphical review at bob-the-movie-man.com and sign up to receive future reviews).
  • After watching Suffragette for the second time I had hoped to have formed a different opinion, initially I left the cinema feeling bored and underwhelmed. The problem I'd say I have with it is that I find it strangely vacuous, on no level can I connect with it, or any of its characters. That is not to say that I find the acting bad, indeed far from it, there are some cracking performances, Carey Mulligan, Anne Marie Duff and for the amount she's actually in it, Helena Bonham Carter. Mulligan delivers frustration and despair well, she loses her family, her job, dignity and lashes out on her pig of a boss.

    I found it a little like a grim version of Made in Dagenham with hats on. There are much better sources out there detailing the Suffragette movement, I know it's a film, but the core essence of what was being demanded, and exactly who was demanding it seemed to be lacking. Why wasn't there a single sympathetic man in the entire film, surely every single man at the time was the same? Even lovely Ben Whishaw was nasty.

    Meryl Streep's speech was the highlight of the film, she had presence and added a realism to the character, in her all to brief appearance.

    It's not the easiest film to get through, it leaves you feeling a little flat, with the cast and subject matter it could have been special, I wonder had it been made on the small screen as a series would it have worked better? A few lighter touches would have truly helped. I thought the credits at the end were a nice touch.

    Disappointing, 5/10
  • Scripted by Abi Morgan, who gave us THE IRON LADY four years ago, this is a finely judged snapshot of a key year (1912-13) in the decades-long battle for women to get the vote in England. Meryl Streep has brief but commanding appearances as cranky old Mrs Pankhurst, imperiously redirecting her campaign from the ruling class to the working class. The key character here is the fictitious Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a young laundrywoman and mother who is drawn into the new campaign of 'civil disobedience', which will soon include blowing up post boxes and cutting telegraph wires.

    Of the male characters, only Helena Bonham Carter's husband (Finbar Lynch) is sympathetic to the Cause. Brendan Gleeson's police inspector is well-served by the writer: central to the brutally repressive treatment of the Suffragettes, he is allowed a moment of doubt towards the end. Ben Whishaw seems uncomfortable in the challenging role of Maud's husband, totally intolerant her involvement with the Movement.

    This is, in the fullest possible sense, a Women's Picture, written and directed (Sarah Gavron) by women, and it is the women who make it work and make it pull at your heartstrings. Bonham-Carter, Anne-Marie Duff and Romola Garai give telling performances. Carey Mulligan, who somehow didn't seem to get the period right in the remake of FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, is at her absolute best here, utterly convincing as an oppressed working mother reluctantly drawn into the campaign to give women fairer pay and a voice in the governance of the realm.

    The Dickensian factory-sized laundry (a museum piece or a reconstruction?) is magnificently awful, and the teeming crowd scenes outside Parliament and at the fateful Epsom Derby suggest the production must have had a good budget (or some crafty CGI). There are moments of humour in the grim struggle, but this movie brings to life vividly and touchingly the high price paid by some women to obtain the right to vote for all women.
  • This story of how in 1912 and 1913 British women fought for the right to vote is immensely worthy, technically accomplished and well-acted but, as cinema, it somehow fails to engage. At the conclusion of the movie, we are reminded that it was not until 1928 that full women's suffrage was achieved in the UK and even today women in a country like Saudi Arabia do not have the vote. The very act of creating this film is a contemporary testimony to female equality since, as well as all the lead acting roles, women fill the positions of writer (Abi Morgan) and director (Sarah Gavron) as well as producers (six out of the nine). The female domination of "Suffragette" serves to underline how few films ate directed and written by women and how underpaid female actors are compared to their male counterparts. The struggle for equality is not over.

    Although the leadership of the suffragette movement came from middle-class women, Morgan has chosen to tell the story through the eyes of a working class laundry worker Maud Watts, wonderfully portrayed by Carey Mulligan - whom I have admired since her performance in "An Education" (2009) - who is brought into the movement by fellow worker Violet (Anne-Marie Duff). Other suffragettes are played by Helena Bonham- Carter (actually a descendant of a Prime Minister who opposed votes for women), Romola Garai (whose career does not seem to have taken off as much as she deserves), and - in an all too tiny cameo - Meryle Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst.
  • Solid performances, great period design, and a historical event worth telling. Unfortunately, the script is clichéd, giving us two stock characters -- the Radicalized Innocent and the Worldly Wise Secret Policeman -- who go through their expected paces. You could probably tell the same story today with a European Muslim in the Carey Mulligan role.

    Getting involved in Suffragette activism upends the life of Mulligan's character, Maud. It cuts her off from her work, her husband, her child and her community, but it introduces her to a wider world of ideas and of people of a higher social class who she would never otherwise have known. It would have been fascinating to learn what became of Maud in her new milieu, what kind of job she found, and what kind of new life she built with her old one in ruins. In particular, it would have been interesting to see how she dealt with the new opportunities for English women created by World War I. That would have been an empowerment story to get involved in. But the movie just drops Maud with a historical footnote about when women got the vote in the UK and various other countries.
  • 'SUFFRAGETTE': Four Stars (Out of Five)

    Historical drama flick; about the beginning of the first feminist movement, in early 1900's Britain. It was directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan. It stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Anne-Marie Duff, Natalie Press and Meryl Streep (in a cameo appearance). The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it could possibly become an upcoming awards contender. I found the movie to be educational, somewhat emotional (at times) and inspiring.

    The film tells the story of a 24-year-old young woman, named Maud Watts (Mulligan). Maud was a wife, mother and laundress; in the UK, during the early 1900's. One day, while trying to deliver a package, she recognizes a co-worker, named Violet (Duff), who's involved in a suffragette riot (destroying windows). Maud is later asked to testify, for the right to vote, in place of Violet; due to the fact that Violet's husband severely beat her. After that, Maud gets extremely caught up in the movement; much to the disappointment of her husband, Sonny (Whishaw), who kicks her out of their house, because of it. Maud continues to sacrifice more and more, for the fight, including losing contact with her young son, George (Adam Michael Dodd).

    I really like movies about rebellion; and what's more inspiring than a film about half the population, fighting back against the corrupt system, which oppresses it? In that way, the movie can't miss. It's well directed, decently written and powerfully acted (Mulligan is especially impressive in the lead). Streep is only in one scene of the film; and it's extremely manipulative, for the advertisers to have used her so much to sell the movie (that's not the filmmakers' fault though). I only wish the film would have been a little more emotional; it's very dramatic at times, but it seems like it could have done a little more.

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the women's suffrage movement in Britain, director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan have reminded us that the more radical participants did not follow the non-violent civil disobedience program as promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the 1960s Civil Rights movement here in America. Quite the contrary, the suffrage movement leader in Britain, Emmeline Parnkhurst (played by Meryl Streep in a brief cameo), called for violent protest. And as the film makes clear, the violent nature of the protests escalated from broken shop windows to bombs thrown into mailboxes, clashes with police and even the arson torching of Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George's summer home.

    Gavron and Morgan tell this historical story through the fictional lens of their protagonist, Maud Watts, a laundress from a working class background. I would say their character is atypical of a woman of 1912, the year in which the Suffragette narrative begins. It's a much safer bet to believe that the average woman of that time was sympathetic to the cause but disapproved of tactics involving any kinds of violent resistance.

    While Maud might be atypical, Gavron and Moran argue in substance that she represents the type of radical Suffragette that actually was the catalyst in upsetting the social order, eventually leading to the vote for women. This was essentially Pankhurst's view initially too—that violence was the only language the men of the time understood. But the film's scenarists go a step further, suggesting that Maud is a symbol of victimization at the hands of a nefarious paternalistic society.

    Maud is not only betrayed by the male establishment politically (note how her brave impromptu speech in front of Lloyd George falls on deaf ears), but she is subjugated by a coterie of evil sexist males at every turn. These males include her loathsome boss who apparently has been molesting his female employees for years (presumably even Maude) as well as her co-worker husband, Sonny, who locks her out of the house after she's arrested and then puts Maud's beloved son up for adoption. Then there's the matrons and prison officials who brutalize Maud and her colleagues, force feeding them against their will, not to mention the police, who club women in broad daylight, following peaceful demonstrations.

    It's not that these things didn't happen, but it just seems all of them happen to Maud, making her less of a fully realized character and more fodder for agitprop. She even is part of the plot to firebomb Lloyd George's summer cottage. Fortunately there is one semi-fleshed out character that keeps things moderately interesting: the antagonist of the drama, Inspector Steed (Brendan Gleeson), who tails Maud and her confederates, taking surveillance photos with his technologically innovative, newfangled camera. Steed has the best scene with Maud during a prison interview —he informs her that the firebombing of Lloyd George's cottage almost claimed a victim—a housekeeper, who returned to the house after forgetting something and just missed being killed. Maud is nonplussed at Steed's "means to an end" diatribe and gets in her jabs in by pointing to the government's hypocrisy, who deny women their basic rights.

    The weakest part of the script involves the climax. How does one tie up Maud's story? Well, just forget about her and focus on the plight of Emily Davison who became a martyr to the Suffragette cause in 1913. Ms. Davison had the unfortunate idea of making a statement at the Epsom Derby where King George V's horse was running in the annual race. In front of three separate Pathe newsreel cameras that were filming the event, she stepped under the railing and on to the racetrack while the race was in progress (amazingly, you can watch it all on Youtube!). Some believed she wanted to commit suicide but a modern day blowup of the footage reveals she was attempting to pin a banner on the horse as it raced by. Unfortunately the horse perceived Ms. Davison as an obstacle to jump over, but missed, bowling her over and crushing her skull (she died after four days in a coma).

    We never do find out what happens to Maud after the tragic event at the Epsom Derby but do see actual newsreel footage of the thousands of women who attended Emily Davison's funeral—the true-life quiet dignity of her supporters outshines the perhaps misguided over aggressive militancy of a fictional Maud.

    Suffragette features a number of both fictional and non-fictional supporting players that give one a flavor for whom was involved in the women's suffrage movement. Carey Mulligan does well as Maud Watts, adroitly capturing the intensity of the composite character Gavron and Morgan have served up here.

    In the end the women's suffrage movement was a bit more complicated than one character's struggle against a monolithic sexist society. Notably Emmeline Pankhurst supported the British government during World War I and became a strident anti-Communist up until her death in 1928. As a basic history lesson, Suffragette manages to get a few things right historically about the women's suffrage movement, but is less convincing in its melodramatic treatment of its strident heroine.
  • Lejink28 December 2015
    The first feature film I can remember dealing with the fight for women's voting rights in the United Kingdom, puts its subject across respectfully, if carefully. Most of the major events I've read about historically on the movement's road to enfranchisement are covered in the film, like the letterbox campaign, attack on Lloyd George's house, their hunger strike and resultant force-feeding in prison and most famously the shocking martyrdom of Emily Davidson who ran onto Epsom racecourse on Derby Day in front of the King's horse, the latter very realistically.

    The device used by the writer and director to get the viewer close to the action is through the invented Carey Mulligan character Maud Watts, a young factory worker, docilely married to her husband and the doting mother of their infant son, who develops an interest in the suffragette movement through a work colleague. Stepping in for the latter at an important consultation with a UK Government committee on votes for women, she finds herself, initially unwillingly, drawn into activism on behalf of the cause.

    I did feel the film somewhat overdid her travails and some of the coincidental events in her life. We learn indirectly that her male employer has abused her at work since she was a child and is now doing so to another pre-teen girl at the factory. Her husband doesn't understand her new found politicism and in short order expels her from their house, denies her access to her son and eventually has him adopted without her knowledge. She too is the one accompanying Davidson to the Derby. While I laud the equally important political point of maternal rights to their children in the event of marital separation being argued along with voter's rights, I did feel that the world seemed to revolve too much around Mulligan's character. She thus comes across more as a cipher than a real person and the film might have played better if she had been based on a real person.

    I also felt the sub-plot about the child-molesting boss jarred somewhat and belonged in a different film entirely, the two main causes didn't need this extra justification, heinous as the crimes are. While I'm criticising, I also felt the cliff-hanging direction style employed (especially in the build-up to the Derby climax) was overdone with looming orchestral swells in the background and a virtual countdown to the incident itself, to be somewhat inconsistent with the seriousness of the subject matter.

    The acting is good by most of the leads, Mulligan in particular. Quite why they rolled out the barrel to find a place in the cast for Meryl Streep to deliver a brief but showy cameo as the cause's figurehead Emmeline Pankhurst, I don't know. Nevertheless in its gritty depiction of the privations and struggles of the brave women who challenged the male-dominated political landscape of the day, this film deserves admiration and recognition for its subject matter if not quite for its execution.
  • collectivesylvias23 December 2015
    Not as expected. A bit of a waste of great resources and actors who sadly didn't make me feel much. Despite their best efforts with good performances, there's something lacking in this film, the emotion is just not there. Something doesn't work, maybe the script but I had high hopes and I couldn't wait to see this film and now I feel like I haven't missed out on anything special.The story also is a bit sketchy.It's a shame this was a great opportunity to show and probably educate many people about how hard it has been to make progress in certain aspects of history. Unfortunately it falls short of history background.A missed opportunity on the director's part.
  • kaydenpat20 February 2017
    At the end of the movie, the claim was made that in 1920 women gained the right to vote in the United States. This is inaccurate. Only White women gained this right. Black women didn't get the right to vote until the 1960s. This fact should have been clarified.

    The film itself was okay. Not sure how accurate it was which is what you can expect with most "based on true events" movies.
  • Another user here put it best when saying it is "a fundamentalist feminist glossing over of a nuanced historical series of events, which fails to show the real work for equal voting rights (which most people, men included, did not have at this point in history) was done by the suffragISTS (not the suffragettes), composed of men & women, who lobbied for 1 person = 1 vote...rather than the openly racist suffragettes who only wanted white, upper class women to have the vote. At this point in history, usually only white, upper class men holding large property holdings could vote (although some women holding equivalent property, for example widows running a business, with a number of employees could and DID vote.)"

    The Suffragettes were (rightly) seen at the time as violent and irrational terrorists, attacking people, blowing up buildings and making plans to assassinate the Prime Minister. The historical revisionism of this film and the present day feminist narrative of history in general does a great disservice to the reality of the time. Rather than win women the vote, it's very likely the suffragettes delayed it happening, because their violent actions made it impossible for the government of the day to address the issue and not be seen to be giving in to terrorists.

    At the time this film is set, the vast majority of men did not have the vote either, and it has been estimated that 9 out of 10 of the men who died in the trenches of the first world war did so without that privilege. Men as a class 'got' the vote the same year all women over 30 did: 1918. But of course, even though a matter of historical record, this is not something the film can address at all without discrediting both the suffragettes cause and its own reason for existing.

    The depiction of almost all the men, too, as an inhuman, monolithic class of brutal oppressors is also mean-spirited, ahistorical and unpleasantly manipulative, and it's hard to imagine such scapegoating being considered acceptable today if it were any other group of people being vilified in this manner.

    The film is very well-acted, particularly by Streep and Carey Mulligan, it's just a shame they worked so hard on such an ugly and dishonest piece of ideological propaganda.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As expected from the famous, wealthy, and successful white female actresses in the movie, the acting was quite good. For those familiar with the infamous Patricia Arquette Oscar speech, you will notice that several of these exceedingly wealthy, famous, privileged, white women were the ones giving a standing ovation after that speech.

    The real damage and sickness of this movie is that its presents its self as a true, accurate, and real bit of history. Yet it is as close to an accurate portrayal of history as Star Wars. If the movie had been set in a farcical alternate reality it would have been mildly more palatable. The vastly inaccurate history mixed with the disgusting demonization of all things male puts this film firmly in the same category as the Nazi Films that demonized Jews.

    The feminist zealotry of the movie glosses over the real historical events. It fails to show the real work for equal voting rights that men worked every bit as hard at getting (In favor of sticking to a feminist; men are bad, women are good, ideology). That most people, men included, did not have the right to vote was all to conveniently left out. The suffragists, composed of men & women, lobbied for 1 person = 1 vote. It was the Suffragettes who were openly racist and only wanted white, upper class women to have the vote, another reality conveniently missing from the movie.

    Another glaring omission was that the right to vote was to go hand in hand with the "Draft" or military service to ones country and the Suffragettes were completely against women having the same responsibilities as men. And women did get the Right to vote without the Obligation to serve...except in Israel, and most non Western countries.

    The open violence of the Suffragettes is accurate; they were very violent and relied on societies unwillingness to imprison women to get away with arson, bombings, beatings, and larceny. At the time they did vastly more harm to getting the vote than any good and today would be viewed as terrorists. If not for the actions of the Suffragettes the vote would have most likely occurred nearly a decade sooner!

    Do not waste your time, if your looking for man-hating misandry and feminist lies simply visit tumblr, Facebook, or any of the several feminist website rags that claim to be "magazines" and get your fill. Its cheaper and the lies are the same.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the bonus features on the DVD of "Suffragette," it was clear that the film was an enterprise filmed almost exclusively with women performers and film artists. Led by director Sarah Gavron, the film successfully told the story of the women's suffrage movement in England in the early twentieth century.

    The screenwriters conceived a fictionalized protagonist named Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), who was a composite of various women fighting in the England for the right to vote. Maud has been exploited in her work in the Glasshouse Laundry in Bethnal Green. She testifies in Parliament about the horrible working conditions for women, then joins the suffragettes led by the iconic figure of Emmeline Pankurst (Meryl Streep).

    Maud's family life is explored in the relationship with her husband who controls all aspects of her life. He eventually evicts Maud for her activism, and he places their child up for adoption, to the horror of the mother.

    The film relates the how the police used state-of-the art cameras to photograph the women in their meetings, as well as the horrid conditions in prison, including the force-feeding of women who went on a hunger strike. The tragic story of Emily Wilding Davison, who threw herself under the King's horse during the derby in 1913 is reenacted in great detail.

    In the production values of the film, the VFX computer technology allowed the film artists to recreate crowd scenes and to convey the architectural style of East London in the early twentieth century. The crew of this film was the first to be allowed to film inside the hallowed walls of Parliament. The only downside of the production values was the extremely dark cinematography throughout the film.

    The film's action begins in 1912, and the end crawl informs the viewer that by 1918, a breakthrough in women's suffrage had started in England in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Maud Watts was convincingly portrayed by Carey Mulligan, who brings an earnest and moving interpretation of her character. The film was exceptionally well cast with memorable performances.

    As opposed to making an historical film, the director wanted to transcend the period of the suffrage movement to speak to us today about women's right across the world. The film was successful in depicting how the women's suffrage movement knew no class boundaries either in 1912 or today.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Suffragette" is a British 105-minute movie that was initially considered one of the big players during awards season, but came surprisingly short in pretty much all areas. And that includes Carey Mulligan playing the lead character, a young woman who gets sucked in by England's women's movement in the early 20th century. It is all about getting the right to vote. Helena Bonham Carter plays one of the major supporting players and Meryl Streep appears in one scene during which she gives a speech to the women listening to her. The director is Sarah Gavron and maybe she is not yet good enough to deal with such a star-studded cast as the outcome was a bit underwhelming given the material she had in terms of the cast.

    The script comes from Emmy winner Abi Morgan, who has also written "Shame" and "The Iron Lady" and here I see room for improvement as well. This is without a doubt a really important story, but somehow they did not really manage to bring true overwhelming emotion to the audience. Of course, the times were dark (World War 1) and most of the action takes place in British industrial cities, so I am not saying this should be an uplifting movie of any kind because it would not have worked as such. But it should have done a better job in letting us feel the injustice that the characters complain about. Brendan Gleeson has one or two good moments, but overall he cannot make this a great watch either. Quite a shame as I really like him and Mulligan, so I hoped this could have been better. Of course, I am not saying this is a weak film, not at all, but I personally believe there was potential in this story for a lot more than they actually delivered. Still I give it a cautious thumbs-up. Recommended.
  • "Suffragette" is the kind of film that races past many other probable Oscar contenders to get in theaters, giving you the impression of its esteemed quality, until you sit down and watch it to realize it's a mediocre representation of an important part of history in an already crowded sea of adult drama. Overlong, underwritten, and messily shot throughout, this is a film more concerned with tugging the heartstrings of the viewers than attempting to detail the scope and impact of a significant movement in the long, arduous pursuit of gender equality.

    What better way to detail the Suffragette movement by way of a fictional character, Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) in particular. She's a twenty-four year old laundress, working tireless hours in sweatshop conditions in order to provide for her husband and young boy. She witnesses the riots of the Suffragettes in the crowded streets of London as she works, one of whom is Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff), one of her coworkers who believes that peaceful protest will no longer work in attempting to get the voices of women recognized.

    The film follows Maud as she works to support her family and becomes close with Emily Davison (Natalie Press) - one of the few people to have actually existed during this time - a woman who encourages Maud to fight for her equal rights in voting and pay. Along the way, because she is jailed numerous times for speaking out against the corrupt Parliament, Maud is jailed and eventually loses custody of her child, in addition to losing her job. As her life spirals out of control, tensions between men and women heat up tremendously, with Inspector Steed (Brendan Gleeson) being called in to try and simmer the pot that is boiling underneath frustrated women all over London.

    Maud is a bland character, to say the least, though the filmmakers' focus on her is well-intentioned. While Maud may not have been a real character in the Suffragette movement, her commonality is intended to show the everyday women behind this movement. This wouldn't be so bad if Maud was (a) defined by her ideas and her own feelings rather than feeling like a scrapbook, with her ideology cut and pasted from the likes of others around her upon meeting them and (b) didn't spend so much time focused on her needy, absent-minded husband. This is another perfect example of a female-centric film that gets too involved with a male love-interest and falls prey to an underdeveloped female character and an unremarkable, archetypal male character.

    With that, the focus on fictional characters only makes it easier for director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan to go for cheaper, emotionally manipulative ploys. Every time we see the Suffragettes beaten in public protests or cruelly mistreated in prisons, we hear accompanying orchestration so unsubtle and bombastic to fit the mood we should be feeling it would make Hans Zimmer blush. This is an element made to distract from the struggles of these brave women, and the focus on Maud's family in addition to this only makes it more of a misdirection. The brutality here is less for a depiction of authenticity and more a cheap, emotional ploy.

    Then there's Gavron's directing, which leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from capturing the entire event with an ugly, ungainly visual palette that emphasizes murky browns, grays, and greens, the manner in which Gavron chooses to direct a number of these scenes is questionable. Anytime a protest occurs in the streets, consider a very early scene when Violet smashes storefront windows by throwing rocks, Gavron goes for a closeups and unruly shakiness in her videography, allowing no elaboration on any kind of environmental sense of placement. This sort of tactic is used throughout the film, making for a film that's as nauseating as it is boring, anchored in mediocrity thanks to a longer runtime for a story that lacks almost any kind of development what so even.

    "Suffragette"'s poorness as a film is only more disappointing, considering this is a project almost entirely helmed by women (even down to the film's two financial backers, Alison Owen and Faye Ward). The stunning mediocrity of this film is attributable to numerous different angles, but the ultimate sin is this is a film with an important message, a significant movement, and a chance to voice its ideas at a critical time where the gender gap plays a huge role in every day society - and it chooses to milk it for cheap pathos rather than tell a compelling, factual story.
  • Western movies of the 1930-50ies related to an actual historical period, vaguely had something to do with actual historical events, and they sure were entertaining. I had the same feeling when I was watching Suffragette. It's well acted and filmed, and relatively entertaining (of course, defending a fort against the Indians has more oomph to it than standing up against the evil manager of a washhouse).

    The film sets out to portray how women finally got the right to vote, but in my opinion it manages to get it pretty wrong. The narration goes "women don't have the vote, then Meryl Streep, erm, Emmeline Pankhurst shows up, throws a few publicity stunts, and walla!". That's scriptwriting 101. More interesting questions would have been: * Why was Pankhurst (and her organisation) so aggressive against Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson, of all people? * Did her terrorism really help to further her cause, and how so? * What other advocates of women's suffrage were there? What were the dynamics between them? * What was the state of men's suffrage at the time? * What happened in the fifteen years between culmination of the film, the Epsom derby suicide stunt, and the eventual granting of the right to vote to women in the UK in 1928? It's not as if the one smoothly led to the other.

    By the way, why is Emmeline Pankhurst shown as a privileged woman? From the movie I'd have thought that she was nobility. But in reality, she wasn't, she came from a middle class background.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The suffragette movement isn't that often dramatized so this well intentioned if grim movie makes an interesting watch.

    The good points about this movie: it shows that it wasn't just about the right to vote, it was about getting better conditions for exploited women workers and rights for mother's rights. Also with all the terrorism these days it is quite a revelation to see how a hundred years ago these British women were carrying acts of rebellion and terror with their bombs and explosives (the difference is of course damaging property and not aiming to hurt innocent people).

    The cast performs well. As the main character, Carey Mulligan is always more than competent at acting sad even though she looks less down turned at the mouth than usual. Her character is a fictional composite and I think it doesn't ring true enough. Giving up her husband and child for the cause just seems too far fetched. Helena Bonham is less irritating than usual as a pharmacist/activist. Ben Whishaw (Q from the latest Bonds) is quite convincing here as a husband of Carey's character. He usually acts quirky roles and it's interesting to see him playing a conventional character for a change. Meryl makes only a brief appearance as a famous suffragette.

    Even for such a serious topic and subject matter there is something just too grim and depressing about this movie. The force feeding was quite shocking to see. There isn't an uplifting feel at the end because the progress was just described briefly in post scripts. Why show just the struggle but no progress? Also the suicidal woman Emily at the horse races seemed a bit inconsiderate about the jockey.

    It is an interesting if grim movie
  • As we struggle and grapple with contemporary inequality issues – race, the economic divide, gay rights, etc – it is well to see this film, reminding us that it has been less than a century since women's rights were recognized and women made equal to men in voting, parental rights (if not economic equality….) and presence in politics and entertainment. Abi Morgan's script is excellent as is Sarah Gavron's direction, and with the superlative support of a cast of gifted actors this film breathes reality, memory, and reminders of a status struggle of the fairly recent past.

    SUFFRAGETTE tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State in England. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes; they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized 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. Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) was one such foot soldier. The opposite side of the feminist movement is well presented by Maud's husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw (on of the more gifted actors on the screen today) who provides a degree of bilateral balance, a man who loves his wife and child and simply does not want to see his family endangered by Maud's growing involvement in the movement.

    Other brilliant performances are offered by Anne-Marie Duff, Romola Garai, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleason, Natalie Press and Meryl Streep as the queen of the movement Emmeline Pankhurst.

    The story of Maud's fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart breaking and inspirational. An altogether brilliant film. Grady Harp, February 16
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I feel the main issue with this movie is the script. It lacks depth, the characters are flat, it just failed to engage me. The actors did a good job but whats not in the script is not in the script. Meaning I feel they did their best but where not able to overcome the dullness of the script and the characters in it. The characters felt very self righteous to me, I did not feel heart. I did not feel they had real passion for the cause.

    The subject you'd think is an engaging one and has potential but it did not deliver. I kept waiting for the movie to grab me somehow, it never did.

    I also thought the scenery was lacking. I understand it was meant to look depressing but I felt it was more then depressing. It lacked, just like the characters did, a certain depth, a certain soul.

    I don't think its a bad movie. I have certainly seen worse. But I do not recommend it.
  • Argemaluco15 April 2016
    Like many other "based on a true story" films, Suffragette takes wide liberties with the historical facts in order to refine the narrative and simplify the complex factors which influenced the socio- political movement to allow female vote in the UK; however, screenwriter Abi Morgan made the good decision not to focus on historical celebrities, but on an ordinary woman, who was away from politics, whose indifference became activism when she could recognize the importance of a government chosen by the whole population, and not only the male half. Carey Mulligan brings another one of her emotive performances, full of details and dramatic resonance, without losing any spontaneity. The rest of the cast also makes a perfect work, highlighting Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff. On the negative side, I think director Sarah Gavron kinda abused of close-ups and hand-held camera during some dramatic moments. I understand the fact that she attempted to highlight the characters' emotions, but at the same time, I think it decreased the clarity of those scenes a bit. Nevertheless, I think Suffragette is quite a good film, not only due to its noble intentions, but also because of its artistic and technical attributes. Its critical principle transcends the characters in order to clear out the fact that even though one battle was won, the war for the rights of women is still in force. The story Suffragette tells us reached its ending, but the fight still remains nowadays.
  • So what happened here? A decently sized budget, with a cast that have proved themselves various times before with a pretty decent soundtrack (although very copied from other soundtracks from other, better films) sounds like a formula for a 10/10 film right? Well that's not exactly it. For a few hours after my viewing I couldn't decide weather this film was articulate or terribly made, and I'm afraid to say it's just terribly made.

    Let's begin with the acting: No real complaints there, no one was exactly bad but no one shined at all, and I can't blame the actors because the script really lacked in ability to help them. The child actor was terrible. In a specific scene which I shall not spoil but I will say it's supposed to be very emotional, there was no expression in the kid's face whatsoever; at one point you could see tears from his cheeks but it was so obvious that they interrupted the scene just so they could add fake tears because he can't act. Another complaint about the acting is that there was little to no Meryl Streap... 0/1000000 for that I'm afraid.

    Now given the whole film and it's political message, I bared in mind just how that message would be portrayed; Would I be beat over the head with it, will it tell me to hate men, will it make stand at the corner of streets with signs telling me to vote women, or will it subtly cue me in, will it let me form my own opinion? No. It beat me more than the men in this film beat the woman. Every single time we are shown a male every aspect of the film begins screaming at us "Hate this man, hate him now or you are a horrible human specimen". We get this right from get go, with narration from equal rights protests and t... okay hang on... t... text... as if it weren't black and white enough already. Text at the beginning of a film that does nothing other than explain the world the film has set up for us, is a pet peeve of mine, because everything is later explained anyway, sometimes in great ways which let us to absorb the information rather than be spoon fed it.

    The character logic was also pretty horrendous. I get it, the director really wanted us to be angry at what we're being shown by having the women just walk away from a conflict even though there were literally so many things they could have said to end the argument, and if that's what they're going for then it could have been coordinated a little better, because instead of being annoyed at the conflict and message, I was annoyed at the script for its terrible understanding of human psychology.

    The cinematography also was hand-held... there you go, need I say more? Horrible fast cuts, not sure what's going on... and so on.

    The sound design also really bugged me. Our protagonists work environment is a loud steam... place... thing, you get the point, very loud, and yet characters would almost whisper things to each other and it was just as audible to us as any other dialogue scene in quieter settings?

    And last but not least, the film not only rushed the ending, but ended it so very awkwardly. (no spoilers, see it for yourself)

    Despite this film not being as pretentious as I first thought it might be, I can safely say that it is not worthy of any Oscar nomination that it received. Check it out for yourself and see how you feel, you may love it who knows.
  • This should have been a gripping and rousing story about the British fight for women's right to vote, but the overly-long and meandering script spoiled the impact. The film came across as a made-for-TV docudrama.

    Women's rights is such an important issue that it's too bad the film wasn't done well, especially since it was written, produced and directed by women.

    The problem, as I see it, is that they tried to cram in too many little events and details rather than focusing on the main story of the political struggle. They should have edited the script much more carefully.

    They could have cut whole scenes and cut out superfluous characters and given the story more impact. For example, they didn't need to show the young girl being molested by the shop owner and later 'saved' by the main character. They could have instead shown that the women were at the mercy of the owner's lechery without bringing in a whole other character. They also could have skipped the force-feeding in the prison and addressed it in dialogue. Same for the hokey adoption scene of the little boy – that could have been done in dialogue, which probably would have been much more devastating. Cutting some of those 'detours' would have kept the focus on the political struggle AND would have cut at least 20 minutes off the running time of the film. Overall, a great opportunity to inspire was wasted.
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