“You’re nothing in the world.”
Admittedly, watching the Focus Features movie Suffragette brought up a lot of emotions. Surfacing was gratitude that women in this country have the ability to vote; anger over the treatment of women in the past which continues to plague women to this day and also sadness at the thought that in other places around the world, women are still not considered equals to men.
Suffragette is the amazing and true story of women fighting in England to get the vote. Featuring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Meryl Streep, as viewers we experience the brutality and escalation of tactics women experienced as they fought for equality and the right to vote.
Considered some of the earliest movements of feminism, women began peacefully protesting and attempting to get the vote in England in the early 1900s. But when peaceful protests failed them, certain individuals key to the movement supported the escalation of events to gain more attention. While it was emphasized repeatedly that no one be harmed, their tactics included breaking windows, cutting communication wiring, and blowing up mailboxes. As Carey Mulligan says in the trailer, “We break windows, we burn things. Cause war’s the only thing men listen to!”
The tactics did gain much attention, which landed women in prison for stints or led to being beaten by their husbands for their “bad behavior.” Eventually, women in England would get the vote. While certain women over 30 got the vote in 1918, all women would not get full voting rights until a decade later. In the United States, women received the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.
“You want me to respect the law? Then make the law respectable.”
The cast of this film features some stunning actresses. Mulligan, Bonham Carter, and Streep lead the fantastic cast of women and throw quite the punches with their powerhouse acting styles. Each of these three women are incredibly talented on their own, and the combination of them is an emotional punch to the heart. Mulligan stars as Maud Watts, a young married women who has worked in a laundry factory since she was 7, enduring occasional sexual abuse by her male boss who owns the factory. Her husband Sonny Watts is played by Ben Whishaw, and I know he is a fantastic actor because he made me want to punch him in the face because of the attitudes represented from men back then. That’s talent. The supporting cast features a number of lovely women who experience brutality at the hands of police or their husbands, and represent true stories of women who suffered to help advance the cause for women all over the country.
The cinematography is outstanding. The griminess of the story and of London itself in the early 1900s is captured brilliantly. The director, Sarah Gavron, does an amazing job portraying the emotional torment women experienced. The anger and the fear and the sadness were all brought to the viewer as you watched these women toil for equality. Your heart aches as you consider the power the law held over a woman even in regards to her own child. It’s seen as commonplace in law today that a child should be with their mother. But to consider that wasn’t always the case is astonishing.
“I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”
The beautiful yet depressing part of movies like this is showing the world how things can change in 100 years. And yet, how little they actually change. It was less than 100 years ago that women in the United States and Britain got the right to vote. Less than 100 years? In that time, how much has actually changed? It could be argued that domestic violence has gone down as attitudes towards women have changed. But awareness of domestic violence didn’t even come around until the 1960s. Sexual assault is still a plague upon women, and men, all around the globe. The Equal Rights Amendment still has not passed to create equality for women, including equal pay. And in some countries, women still do not have the right to vote.
This movie debuting SATURDAY, JULY 02 at 8:00pm portrays that struggle, that journey quite nicely.
Because it is a holiday weekend an additional movie accompanies our prime time offering Be warned though, that these two movies make quite an odd paring. Debuting at the 6:00 hour ET is Jem and the Holograms. Below is its trailer. Enjoy one or both movies this weekend.