Suffragette – a moment for shame

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The film “Suffragette” is now on general release. It is very much worth watching.

I saw it last night. I approached it without knowing what parts of the Suffragette struggle it would depict. It was good to enjoy the film without any expectations. I won’t give away the gist of it. But I will say that the film is extremely powerful. It manages to artfully straddle the powerful micro-drama of a working community with great events on the broader stage.

Carey Mulligan is superb as suffragette Maud, around whom the movie is built. It’s hard not to be moved by the unfolding events. The on-screen action is quite harrowing. The pain and suffering made me feel ashamed. A Liberal Prime Minister, namely Asquith, was in a position to move women’s suffrage forward but opposed it. Not only that but women campaigners were beaten, imprisoned and force-fed under his leadership. Women were allowed to vote in New Zealand parliamentary elections from 1893 but had to wait until 1928 in the UK.

Two historic notes. This was the first movie to be allowed to filmed in and around the Houses of Parliament (see photo above). It stars Helena Bonham-Carter, who is the great grand-daughter of Asquith.

The film also stars Meryll Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst and the cast includes Grace Stuttor, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw and Samuel West. It is directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan, who also wrote Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady”.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it a reasonable 78% rating and this critics consensus:

Suffragette dramatizes an important — and still painfully relevant — fact-based story with more than enough craft and sincerity to overcome its flaws.

One final point directed at fellow men – please go and see this. There were a small number of men at the screening I attended. We should damn well see this and see what we were responsible for as a gender! This is a film for all people to watch and mark.