By Alexander Balzano
3 out of 5 stars
Suffragette is a surprising, interesting historical piece. It centers on the women’s suffrage movement in England in the early 20th century and stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.
The film centers on Mulligan’s character Maud, a working wife and parent who was initially caught up in the suffrage movement by mistake, and who gradually starts to devote her life to the cause. She is initially introduced by Bonham’s character Edith, a pharmacist who houses a meeting space for fellow suffragettes (the term used for women who participated in these movements). They are both inspired by Emmeline Pankurst, the founder and leader of the group played by Meryl Streep, as exceptional as ever. As Maud begins to face persecution by her community and her family life falls apart, she involves herself more and more to the rebellion.
One interesting fact I found out about this film when doing some background research is that this is the first film to have ever been filmed inside of the actual house of parliament in England. They were granted unprecedented special permission by parliament itself.
Being a fan of historical period pieces, I was immediately excited about this film. The set and wardrobe were accurately done to reflect the time period. The casting was also well chosen, with three bombshell actresses casted in the leading roles. Although Meryl Streep’s screen time was shorter than anticipated, let’s be honest – she’s most likely going to get another Oscar just for that role and infuriate an already snubbed Leo DiCaprio.
The mood of the film felt slow and brooding, which felt appropriate for the subject matter. This was helped by the cinematography, which involved many long shots with fewer cuts between angles, giving the overall feel a slower pace and consequently adding to the brooding mood of the film. The music also assisted with this and was done by talented music composer Alexandre Despat, who also did the music for The King’s Speech and Godzilla.
The only thing I felt the film could have improved on is just that – its pacing. Coming in to this movie, I was very excited – especially with the subject of revolution and rebellion – so I was expecting a visually exciting film. The pacing, while serious, felt too slow to sustain me, and if put to at least a faster pace with a more exciting soundtrack, it could have been a really cool historical adventure.
Nonetheless, it was still definitely worth the watch and touches on the very important subject of women’s rights, which unfortunately we are still working on as a society today.