Sunday, January 3, 2016

Suffragette movie honors women who sacrificed so much for our voting rights

Movie Title:    Suffragette

Grade:  B+

Rating:  PG-13, 1 hour 46 minutes

In a Nutshell:    I teach a Politics class at a local college, so I was especially excited to see how Focus Features would handle this period piece in film.

The story is compelling and yet, it's only a short introduction to what some of our female forebears went through to secure for us the right to vote.   With a presidential election occurring in the United States this year, how many of you will take the time to vote?  Do you appreciate your right to vote?

The list of countries and the dates that women were given the right to vote is shown at the very end of the movie.  What’s surprising is the absence of many countries around the world who have still not granted women’s suffrage.

Uplifting theme: 
  •  Like all rights, we who have them often forget the terrible price that was paid to have governments recognize and protect them.
  • The ability to effect social change always requires sacrifice.
  • “Never underestimate the power we women have to define our own destinies.” – Emmeline Pankhurst
  • “We do not want to be law breakers.  We want to be law makers.” – Emmeline Pankhurst
  • “Never surrender.  Never give up the fight.” – Emmeline Pankhurst
  • “If it’s right for men to fight for their freedom, then it’s right for women to fight for theirs.” - Maud (Carey Mulligan)
  • What rights are you willing to lose everything in order to gain?

Things I liked:
  • The incredibly talented cast includes Carey Mulligan (I adore her), Meryl Streep (who doesn’t adore her?), Helena Bonham Carter (talented character actress), and Brendan Gleeson (I really hated him by the end of the movie).
  • If you continue to think about a movie after watching it, then it's a good movie, right?
  • The sets were generally believable.  Nice job.
  • Your heart will break for these women.  Nice job.
  • The main events illustrated in the film were historically accurate.
  • It will leave you wanting to know more.
  • Abi Morgan, who also wrote “The Iron Lady” (which I loved), creates interesting characters who have internal struggles of morality and doing what's right.
Things I didn’t like:
  • After decades of being ignored on the issue of women’s suffrage, Emmeline Pankhurst issued a call for civil disobedience.  It definitely caught everyone’s attention, and the women involved felt they had no other option in order to be taken seriously.  Some people in today's society feel the same way about certain issues. Unfortunately, it's a dangerous course of action.  As Brendan Gleeson's character states, “Violence doesn’t discern.  It takes the innocent and the guilty.”
  • The majority of the men are portrayed as disgraceful monsters.
  • Meryl Streep gets very little screen time (4 minutes).  Shame.  To learn more about her character, check out the 2007 film "Suffragettes'.
  • All of the bad reviews I've seen about this film were written by men.

Interesting lines:
  • “You want me to respect the law?  Then make the law respectable.”  - Violet Cambridge (Anne-Marie Duff)
  • “It’s deeds, not words that will get us the vote.” – Helena Bonham Carter
  • “We break windows.  We burn things, because war is the only thing men listen to.” – Violet Cambridge
  • “I would rather be a rebel than a slave.” - Maud 

Tips for parents:   

  • Some profanity, including 1 F-bomb.
  • Some violence, including bloody scenes.
  • You see the rear end of a woman in the first jail scene when the women are changing into their prison clothes.
  • Women are subjected to all kinds of terrible treatment by men.  
  • Teenage girls need to get off their cell phones and watch this.
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