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.
The period drama is a rarity for major studios because it is often directed, written and produced by women. Though, this combo gained importance these years; due to renewed scrutinizing of the industry's gender imbalance. Director Sarah Gavron said it has taken 100 years for the story to reach the screen and she'd been wanting to do it for over a decade now. And she created a somehow formally conservative account of a revolutionary moment in history. Intertwined socioeconomic details with domestic melodrama. Nowadays, calling a woman a "militant feminist" is an insult in order to belittle a woman's anger, Suffragette does serve as an eye-opening reminder of what the term itself actually means. This movie isn't just about one woman's awakening to the cause, it's so much more.
This film has two major assets in its awards push: Carey Mulligan and plenty of goodwill. In fact, Carey Mulligan gives a nuanced central performance supported by strong performances from both Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff. The choice to focus on a fictional character who never feels like more than a symbol for a whole generation is pretty clever. That's what Maud Watts feels like: a shorthand for an idea that Suffragette offers up but doesn't really engage. Indeed the working class women who joined the movement had more to lose, fewer protections and were sometimes cannon fodder. Nonetheless, Mulligan holds the film together. She is in nearly every scene, clearly conveying the character's growing convictions. However, Meryl Streep provides a fleetingly aloof cameo, rallying the troops from a balcony before disappearing into the night. Here, the real firebrand is Helena Bonham Carter's character; who provides the movement's combustible spark.
This film has other strengths, including the production design by Alice Normington, costume design by Jane Petrie and score by Alexandre Desplat. This is a genuinely important story and Suffragette tells it without stylistic fuss. In fact, this altogether more polemical work provides a solidly researched and at time surprisingly grim film. Finally, exiting the screening, I thought every woman - and men - needed to see this movie.
Overall some people will love this film but even those who won't, couldn't help rooting for it; given the subject matter and the filmmaking team.