Taking aside that the film has an important message to tell about the treatment of woman at the turn of the 20th century, Suffragette has to go down as
something of a disappointment. That's not to say that it's bad, because it isn't, however, stellar cast aside, Suffragette does feels a bit like a Sunday
night BBC period drama.
Set at the turn of the last century director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan use some artistic licence and add the fictional character of Maud Watts
(Carey Mulligan) to the true events that surrounded the woman's suffragette movement and their fight to win voting rights for woman.
Maud, a down trodden woman who was sexually abused in her youth, works, as she has since the age of twelve, in a laundry where the female employees are
treated awfully by the vile owner (Geoff Bell). Through chance she becomes involved in the Suffragette movement and she's introduced to various supporters,
including Helena Bonham Carter's militant pharmacist and Emily Wilding Davidson (Natalie Press). After being lied to by the government the woman are forced
to take a more militant action and rather than walking down the street with placards they resort to blowing up letter boxes, smashing windows and in their
most extreme action, they blow up the Prime Ministers new country home.
As Maud gets deeper and deeper into the suffragette movement her personal life begins to collapse, her once dotting husband turns out, like all the other
men in the film, to be a male chauvinist pig, and Maud is thrown out into the street. Her actions inevitably bring her to the attention of the police who
are led by Brendan Gleeson’s police inspector, a man that was used to "hunting Fenians" in his last job but has now made it his goal to hunt down the
members of the suffragette movement.
Suffragette is a fantastic looking film, the period detail is exquisite and the murky cinematography makes the whole thing feel like you're watching a
newsreel rather than a modern film. Carey Mulligan has never been better and is ably supported by fantastic performances from Helena Bonham Carter and
Natalie Press, Press's understated performance as Emily Wilding Davidson is the heart and soul of the film and the one that should be praised the most.
Much has been made of Meryl Streep’s appearance in the film, advertisers no doubt using her presence to get bums on seat, however anyone going thinking
that this is a Meryl Streep film is going to be sadly disappointed as her blink and you'll miss her role as the leader of the suffragette movement Emmeline
Pankhurst amounts to no more than a cameo role.
Suffragettes is an enjoyable if rather bleak film that is lifted above the ordinary by some sparkling performances by its leading ladies, Emmeline
Pankhurst would have been so proud.