2015 | Drama | 106 minutes | English
In 1912, 24-year-old laundry worker, Maud Watts, and her co-worker Violet Miller, become involved in the protests by the suffragettes. They both agree to testify before a Parliamentary Committee. Maud gives compelling testimony, but it’s in vain. The Committee refuses to act. The protests continue and Maud is arrested and vilified by the community. Her husband locks her out of their home and restricts Maud’e access to her son. Maud and the group become more radical and they cut telegraph wires. Maud is influenced by Emmeline Pankhurst, a leader in the movement, whose slogan is “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” The suffragettes decide to go the Derby and protest in front of King George V. While standing on the racing track, Emily Davison, fellow protestor, is trampled and killed by one of the King’s horses. But the suffragettes are persistent and continue to agitate. The film ends by scrolling the successes of the suffragettes through the years until the eventual passage in England of the Equal Franchise Act in 1928. It gave all women over the age of 21 the right to vote.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 73%
- Metacritic Score: 66
British Independent Film Awards: Winner, Best Supporting Actor (Brandon Gleeson); Nominated, Best Actress (Carey Mulligan); Best Supporting Actress (Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter)
Hollywood Film Awards: Winner, Actress of the Year (Carey Mulligan)
London Critics Circle Awards: Nominated, Best Actress of the Year (Carey Mulligan)
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SUFFRAGETTE is a tart reminder to those who are casual about democratic gender equality that votes for women were not something that naturally evolved due to the ruling class’s innate decency; they had to be fought for.
SUFFRAGETTE unfolds partly as an Edwardian thriller, with Special Branch detective Arthur Steed chasing after the militants as they plot their actions. It also has a strain of melodrama as Maud Watts is forced to make terrible sacrifices for the cause. What joins these narrative strands is the feminist insight that the subjugation of women extends from the highest reaches of government through the workplace and into the domestic sphere.
A lushly appointed period about the women’s suffrage movement in England in the early 20th century sounds like MASTERPIECE THEATRE fodder, polite and tasteful and a bit pallid. The surprise of SUFFRAGETTE is how much anger and urgency it contains, and how much new material it unearths.
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