Featured image courtesy of the Savannah Film Festival website
Written by Brittany Landry
“Suffragette” tells the violent story of the women who fought the war for the vote, and we can’t take our eyes away. Director Sarah Gavron might not have a lot of experience working on big Hollywood movies, but she does know a lot about being a British woman, and for once that seems to be an advantage. Gavron tells us the story of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) becoming a Suffragette.
Maud is a very mundane woman. She works at the laundromat, washing, ironing, repeating, all her life. She is a wife, a mother and has a history of being raped by her boss. Very mundane for a woman living in London in 1912.
Coincidence and a little curiosity brings Maud to some very…well maybe not powerful but certainly not powerless women. Ladies like Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter), and Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) protest for their right to vote and have been incarcerated and beaten for it many times over. Maud is shown a life where women go to jail on a daily bias, and are given bouqets and pins from other Suffragettes when they are released. For such a fierce time in history it’s hard to believe this is only one of a few movies on the topic.
The directing of Suffragette is captivating with its sharp — but not dizzying — turns that help tell the savagery of the story. The softer glimpses of Maud’s innocent face when she looks at her son shows us what she is fighting for. All of it tells the story we needed to hear. The cast was appropriately filled with some of the great actresses of our time. Including a short appearance, from the great Meryl Streep.
Women have fought, sacrificed, and even died for the rights we have today and “Suffragette” reminded us of that. Sadly, today woman in the world are still working to obtain that slippery word equality. Which brings us to ask, what would the movie Suffragette be like if it had been directed by a man, and not Sarah Gavron? Would it have gotten the same incredible cast? Would it tell the same narrative? Do we care? Because I sure didn’t after the credits started rolling, and neither will you.