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Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

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 Iron Lady

Meryl Streep‘s magnificent Maggie Thatcher well and truly matches Helen Mirren‘s remarkable Queen. It helps, of course, that the script is so well written by Abi Morgan, but to humanise this incredible woman is a great achievement, whoever you give the credit to.

Of course, it is only her most obvious frailty that provides the window of opportunity. Morgan’s script capitalises on the ageing Thatcher’s senility, and I don’t think there is any other way really to bring the woman down to earth enough for an audience to relate to her as a character.

The film lacks some of The Queen‘s zing. It creates magnificent character, but because of its broad sweep, it fails to create such a clear focus and the character is only just enough to cover the rather flat narrative structure.

The Iron Ladyis a very good film, and one well worth watching. But just in case any of you Poms were thinking about it, I’ve now seen enough biographical films about your twentieth century politicians. They’re really not that interesting.

 
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Posted by on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 in British Film, Film

 

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