A drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. 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 was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational. Written by
Helena Bonham Carter is the great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916, during the height of the suffrage movement. He was a staunch opponent of votes for women. See more »
When Maud seeks out her son in the street after her husband has banished her, George spots her and runs up. She scoops him up into her arms and we see the soles of his shoes, which have modern plastic soles with the maker's embossing on them. See more »
Ideological Propaganda With Little Grounding In Reality
Another user here put it best when saying it is "a fundamentalist feminist glossing over of a nuanced historical series of events, which fails to show the real work for equal voting rights (which most people, men included, did not have at this point in history) was done by the suffragISTS (not the suffragettes), composed of men & women, who lobbied for 1 person = 1 vote...rather than the openly racist suffragettes who only wanted white, upper class women to have the vote. At this point in history, usually only white, upper class men holding large property holdings could vote (although some women holding equivalent property, for example widows running a business, with a number of employees could and DID vote.)"
The Suffragettes were (rightly) seen at the time as violent and irrational terrorists, attacking people, blowing up buildings and making plans to assassinate the Prime Minister. The historical revisionism of this film and the present day feminist narrative of history in general does a great disservice to the reality of the time. Rather than win women the vote, it's very likely the suffragettes delayed it happening, because their violent actions made it impossible for the government of the day to address the issue and not be seen to be giving in to terrorists.
At the time this film is set, the vast majority of men did not have the vote either, and it has been estimated that 9 out of 10 of the men who died in the trenches of the first world war did so without that privilege. Men as a class 'got' the vote the same year all women over 30 did: 1918. But of course, even though a matter of historical record, this is not something the film can address at all without discrediting both the suffragettes cause and its own reason for existing.
The depiction of almost all the men, too, as an inhuman, monolithic class of brutal oppressors is also mean-spirited, ahistorical and unpleasantly manipulative, and it's hard to imagine such scapegoating being considered acceptable today if it were any other group of people being vilified in this manner.
The film is very well-acted, particularly by Streep and Carey Mulligan, it's just a shame they worked so hard on such an ugly and dishonest piece of ideological propaganda.
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