Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Grace Stotter, Adrian Schiller, Natalie Press, Geoff Bell, Amanda Lawrence, Romola Garai, Finbar Lynch, Samuel West, Clive Wood, Annabelle Dowler, Simon Gifford.
It can be surprising and fairly disheartening that for quite a few people going to see Suffragette, both male and female, what is captured upon the screen, the fight that a generation of women and the men who stood alongside them in the struggle, will come as a complete and utter revelation. However for those who know their history, or at least have some semblance of understanding what history and progress, what sacrifice was made just over a 100 years ago in the name of women’s rights, then the story of those who decided that the system was never going to hear their words, no matter how loud they were shouted, Suffragette is a film of vital national importance.
In a country that was soon to feel the devastating effects of World War One, the images of women taking on the establishment must have been one that brought many sleepless nights. The so called gentler sex had learned to roar, had finally realised that they had the power to bring about much needed change in a society that was closed, cold and aloof to the needs and desires of half the population.
In Carey Mulligan, the film makers have their perfect heroine, let down by society, abandoned by her husband and shunned by those she lived amongst, her composite character of East-End wash house supervisor Maud Watts, the eyes of history truly naturally gaze upon. Yet it is Natalie Press’ visual depiction of Emily Wilding Davison who really captures the soul of the film and is complimented by Adrian Schiller’s remarkable portrayal of future Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Finbar Lynch’s Hugh Ellyn and his caring demeanour for his forthright wife and early feminist Edith, played by the consummate Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Whishaw as Maud’s out of place and near cowardly and weak spirited husband all drive the film into the hearts of all who see it.
Any film that can generate a loud spontaneous round of applause at the end is worth its salt, it can also lead to hearing some very weird discussions as the audience files out past the ticket booth and out into the night and wondering why these determined women, women who sought for the right to be considered equal to their male counterparts and to whom should be an inspiration to millions of women and men throughout the world, are still ignored by many as history seeks as always to cloud the greatest of deeds.
A truly remarkable film about a truly remarkable set of women, Suffragette is a crowning glory of British cinema.
Ian D. Hall