Directed by Sarah Gavron
Starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter
‘Deeds not words’.
That is a quote from Emmeline Pankhurst a great woman who fought for women's rights in the early 1900’s.
Directed by Sarah Gavron the film is based on a true historical story of a women’s groups’ fight for a change in the law in order to allow them the “right to vote”. The film contains the harsh reality of choices, violence and brutality during this period. The main character in the film is a woman called Maud Watts (a fictional character played by Carey Mullighan) who starts off as a young and peaceful woman and how her life changes as she involves herself more and more with the suffragette movement. Maud’s first encounter with the Suffragettes is not one she enjoyed as she is caught in the middle of a violent protest that included smashing shop windows. Maud begins to witness a lot more violent protests as the story unfolds and really starts to build her interest in having the “right to vote” when she speaks in front of the Prime Minister, who seemed to understand her point of view (being that it's not only the vote women deserve but the same wage as men when doing the same jobs).
Later on in the story Watts is asked to join the Suffragettes which meant she had to consider spending less time with her family but also risk a potential prison sentence. A lot of violence is used during the protests as the Suffragettes struggle to get their voices heard. However, one person who is keeping their hopes alive is Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), an inspiring and motivational woman who is leading the movement. Later on, the Suffragettes begin to use different tactics such as starving themselves in prison and blowing up letterboxes.
Soon after the news of starvation, Watts is hit with a dilemma as trouble at home strikes when her husband breaks the news to her that her actions have caused him to make the decision that she is no longer allowed to see her son George. This breaks her heart, and a sombre realisation that it is the law that men are in charge over the children. This gives her further motivation as she risks everything to try and see her son as well as getting the vote.
Towards the end one of the biggest incidents known to the Suffragettes happens at a major horse riding event - the Derby, with the King in attendance and a large crowd gathered. Watts witnesses the famous incident with her very own eyes as her good friend Emiline Davidson risks her life by attempting to put a “votes for women” banner on the King's horse.
The locations chosen in the film (London and Kent are two examples) provided a great backdrop for the story and viewers will enjoy the way Gavron focuses on some of the truly horrendous working and living conditions of this period in history. It certainly makes one appreciate the modern living conditions we enjoy today.
The acting is excellent throughout with a surprising cameo role from Hollywood star, Meryl Streep.
Overall, the film is educational and inspiring, well made and certainly worth the audience’s time. The film provides a great insight into what life was like (particularly for a woman) during this period. For anyone interested in British history or women’s rights, Suffragette comes thoroughly recommended.
This film review was written by Oscar, Liverpool aged 15 - Young Blogger at FACT
Watch the movie trailer for Suffragette below...