Directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and with an all-star cast including Carey Mulligan (Far from the Madding Crowd, Inside Llewyn Davis, An Education), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Brendan Gleeson (Calvary), Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy, The Last Station), Ben Whishaw (The Danish Girl) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, Julie & Julia) as Emmeline Pankhurst, Suffragette is the powerful and thrilling first film about the remarkable untold story of the real foot soldiers of the British suffrage movement.
These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality—their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud Watts (Mulligan) was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller; it is also both heart-breaking and inspirational.
Suffragette technically qualifies as period drama: its story takes place in 1912 and 1913, and its sets and costumes vividly and convincingly evoke a bygone age. But it is written, shot and acted with a hot-blooded urgency that reminds you the struggle it depicts is an ongoing one—and which shakes up this most well-behaved of genres with a surge of civil disobedience.
“In the best picture of 2015, Carey Mulligan is the stoic, long-suffering sweatshop worker radicalized into action.” (Roger Moore, Movie Nation)
“The women’s movements are routinely and depressingly ignored by the movies. But Suffragette isn’t just a dutiful corrective, a lid to cover up a gap, but a necessarily distressing exploration of how much a political vanguard will push and endure to set things right—and how fiercely and eagerly a society that’s resistant to change will punish them for it.” (Inkoo Kang, The Wrap)