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Tag Archives: Helena Bonham-Carter

Suffragette

suffragetteSuffragette is the story of a fictional woman in early twentieth century London, who becomes involved with the Suffragette movement to enfranchise women in the United Kingdom. Maud Watts is an ordinary mother, working in a laundry to help make ends meet. We see the journey she takes as she goes from merely supporting suffrage, to actively and militantly campaigning for it.

This technique of using someone who becomes involved in a movement to illustrate how people interacted through history is one I appreciate. I think it provides a view of history that is easier to relate to, and is possibly more accurate as it doesn’t present history merely through the eyes of leaders.

In this instance, the ploy is largely successful. It is easy to empathise with Maud, especially as her son is taken away from her. But it is this element of the plot that somehow gets lost along the way. One minute she is a mother, and the next she is just a suffragette, and her son is neither seen nor mentioned again.

From a feminist perspective, perhaps there is nothing wrong with this. But the purpose of creating this fictional character as a lens through which to view history is to humanise the story. The tragedy of losing such a precious relationship could not be understated, and its impact on the protagonist should not have been overlooked. It is at this point that the film goes from being brilliant to being somewhat clinical, and having the feeling of a docudrama, rather than a film.

The dialogue, nonetheless, is brilliant throughout, and demonstrates an impeccable skill. Carey Mulligan’s performance as Maud is professional and engaging.

I just wish the writer, Abi Morgan, had stuck more doggedly to her initial approach.

 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 in BFI, British Film, Film, Film4, Pathe

 

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The King’s Speech

Don’t ask me why, but I’m a sucker for a title with a double meaning! Usually, though, they represent a pretty ordinary film, play or novel. In the case of The King’s Speech, the film is far more clever than its title.

Set in 1930s England, with the world on the brink of war, this is the story of an unfortunate chap with a speech impediment. Not a particularly big deal, perhaps, unless the unfortunate chap happens to be the king of a constitutional monarchy in which the only useful thing a king does is to speak to his subjects. In such circumstances, there is only one thing for it; run through the gamut of speech pathologists until you find one who has a bit of common sense. Such a personage, of course, would have to be an Australian. You just can’t make stuff like this up!

It’s true. The film, I mean; it’s a true story. And it’s not in any way dry or sombre or mundane as biographical films are prone to being; it’s a thoroughly engaging story, made all the more real by its heart-warming depiction of our queen in her childhood, her mother in her prime, and the relationships of this extraordinary family.

If you’ve not seen it, do so. If you don’t like it, you’re probably not human.

 
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Posted by on Saturday, 15 January 2011 in Bedlam Productions, British Film, Film

 

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