|SUFFRAGETTE (director: Sarah Gavron; screenwriter: Abi Morgan; cinematographer: Edu Grau; editor: Barney Pilling; music: Alexandre Desplat; cast:(Edith Ellyn), Carey Mulligan (Maud Watts), Brendan Gleeson (Police Inspector Steed), Anne-Marie Duff (Violet Miller), Natalie Press (Emily Wilding Davison), Ben Whishaw (Sonny Watts), Adam Michael Dodd) (George Watts), Meryl Streep (Emmeline Pankhurst), Romola Garai (Alice Haughton); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Andy Stebbing, Hannah Farrell; Focus Features; 2015-UK)|
|"The pic is watchable because its
star Carey Mulligan gives an affecting
by Dennis Schwartz
well-meaning prestige drama, much like a safe PBS
production, about the women's movement
in early 20th-century Britain. Director
Sarah Gavron ("Brick Lane") and writer Abi
Morgan collaborate and show sympathy for the cause but
are uninspiring in their confrontational scenes.
Things follow a measured preconceived agenda,
and there are too many stagy set pieces for comfort.
The pic is watchable because its star Carey Mulligan
gives an affecting performance.
Emily Wilding Davison (Natalie Press) is the real-life militant activist who famously stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913. Her fatal act of self-sacrifice spurred on the women’s suffrage movement as it made headlines around the world. In this biopic, Davison remains a mostly peripheral figure, while the narrative centers around the wide-eyed fictional London laundry factory worker, the 24-year-old Maud Watts (Mulligan), an amalgam of other activists who serves the traditional narrative well. Maud is married to Sonny (Ben Whishaw) and has a young son (Adam Michael Dodd). Hardly an activist type, Maud changes when she is caught up in a brick-throwing street demonstration involving a fellow factory worker (Anne-Marie Duff) that opens her eyes that her human rights have been violated at work and by the laws of a patriarchal society. Turning politically active, Maud is forced to separate from her hubby and family.
feminist leader of that time is Emmeline
Pankhurst, played in a brief cameo by Meryl Streep.
From a balcony Pankhurst rallies the
ladies to protest for the cause. Another influence on
the radicalization of Maud is Edith Ellyn (Helena
Bonham Carter), a pharmacist determined to bring about
is the burly two-faced enforcer police inspector,
Arthur Steed (Brendan Gleeson), who
shows some sympathy to the fem cause even if
relentless in his pursuit of them.
Too middle-brow and too conventional for the viewer to feel captivated by it. The movement was a violent one and took a long-time to come to fruition around the world, something the film gets right only in spurts and fits. And, there's still Saudi Arabia to modernize. But it does let us know the staunchest believers were the ones who lost the most by their activism.
REVIEWED ON 11/28/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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