Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette is a by-the-numbers historical drama. Whilst the subject matter is ripe for cinematic adaptation, Suffragette fails to offer something truly memorable…
Maud Watts is a regular working-class women in 1910s London, with a husband and son. Reluctant at first, Maud is encouraged by friends to join the Suffragette movement, which has begun a campaign of civil disobedience…
Abi Morgan’s screenplay for Suffragette chooses an everywoman for its focus. Rather than heavily featuring the better-known characters of the movement, the film concentrates on Maud; very much an ordinary and relatable character. The protagonist is certainly accessible, and moves the film away from biopic leanings.
The film is as much about the journey of Maud as it is about the women’s right to vote movement in Britain. She acts as a conduit for the audience to experience key events in this period, functioning almost as a guide. Suffragette is likely to educate audiences who do not know much about the movement, almost like a beginner’s guide.
Suffragette has the unshakeable feeling of a historical drama. Sarah Gavin’s film hits all the notes. Different aspects of the period are represented as the film progresses, the struggles depicted aim for the audience’s heartstrings, and the score veers from appropriately somber to soaring when necessary. The main issue with the film is that it does nothing to elevate itself above the status of run-of-the-mill historical drama. Suffragette is perfectly competent without offering any ingenuity.
The cast and crew seem likely to pick up nominations in the awards season. Carey Mulligan delivers a convincing performance as Maud. She receives good support from Anne-Marie Duff, whilst Meryl Streep good as ever in a small role. Costumes and sets have an air of authenticity to them.
Suffragette will engage and educate its audience, and is an important film for this reason. Those expecting something exceptional might be disappointed.