Director: Sarah Gavron
Cast: Carey Mulligan – Helena Bonham Carter – Anne Marie Duff – Ben Wishaw – Brendan Gleeson – Meryl Streep
What appears at first glance to be worthy historic period drama, turns out to be an exceptional film with real pace, real drama, and a real message. The film is set 1912 and tells story of the suffragette movement from the view of Maud played by Carey Mulligan. Through her eyes we experience the incredibly tough life of a young married working class woman in post Victorian London. Maud gradually becomes embroiled in the suffragette movement but the price of her new found beliefs is huge. The justice of her cause sweeps her along and ultimately she is forced to sacrifice almost everything else that she holds dear.
The script writing is tight and the story is perfectly paced, never racing forward but never dragging. The final scenes are as tense and dramatic as any action movie. All the actors are excellent. Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Marie Duff are perfect as support for Carey Mulligan. There are solid performances from Ben Wishaw and Brendan Gleeson as well as a splendid cameo from Meryl Streep.
The character of Maud is fictional and this allow the ‘history’ to flow around her without getting in the way of a good story. It is this device that gives the narrative emotional depth way beyond the powers of a dry biopic. This brings all of the characters to life. Make no mistake, however, this is not some light piece of TV drama only suitable for a Sunday evening viewing. No! It is political and tough and says as much about today as it says about our recent past.
If like me you are a middle aged white man, it is quite difficult to watch in places, as the (male dominated) establishment squirms, wriggles and lashes out to maintain the status quo. I felt genuine shame for my half of our race. Perhaps I am going soft in my dotage but I cried more than once, not entirely for Maud and her fictional woes, but more for what we have done in the (oh so recent) past and for what we still do.
Sarah Gavron has made a fine film. I must confess that I not seen any of her work before but I am just about to go find a copy of ‘Brick Lane’
Review By : Man in the Black Hat