... in numbers too big to ignore...
Cinema Nova, Thursday 10 December 2015, 6:30pm
Running time: 106m
Country: United Kingdom
Classification: PG (Mature themes, violent scenes, brief strong language, partial nudity)
Release date: 26/12/15
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4/5)
Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is a young mother working in brutal conditions in a London laundry in the early 1900s. When fellow laundry worker Violet (Anne-Marie Duff) is unable to deliver her statement to a parliamentary committee on the working conditions of women, Maud takes her place and finds herself thrust into the suffragette movement. As their political actions become increasingly extreme, the consequences have disturbing and painful ramifications on their lives in the workplace and at home.
Suffragette is a powerful and raw emotional ride through the lives of the women (real and fictional) who eventually brought about significant social change. Carey Mulligan is superb as the fragile yet determined Maud, and Helena Bonham Carter brings a determined and passionate performance as Edith. St Meryl Streep (yes, you're almost forgiven for Ricki and the Flash... almost) makes a small yet important appearance as Emily Pankhurst, but it's a shame there isn't a bit more screen time for the grand dame of cinema. Apart from Edith's husband Hugh (Finbar Lynch), there's little empathy from the other male characters, but there are excellent performances particularly from Brendan Gleeson (boo) and Ben Wishaw (hiss). The production is great with London's east end brought to grotty life, and the bleak surrounds provide the perfect backdrop for some truly flamboyant facial hair. There's some interesting shaky camera work which heightens the tension during some of the confronting riot scenes.
This is a film that is engaging as it passionately explores issues of justice for the marginalised, but it lacks subtlety in its brutality. Sadly, like many films these days inspired by true events, it ended with a lengthy epilogue because (obviously) none of us know anything about the historical events and developments following the high profile death of Emily Davison (Natalie Press). Despite this it's a film that's well worth a look. (ME)