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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Movie Review: "Suffragette"

As an ardent feminist I am tempted to give the movie 5 stars just because I agree with its agenda. But that wouldn't be morally right and it actually wouldn't be feminist either. 

The reality is that the movie is not about art. If it were, then we would be debating whether the characters were riveting, portrayed with depth and complexity; whether the story was told in a skillful way; whether the cinematography furthered the narrative; etc. etc. 

On all of those counts the answer is "meh." The movie is artistically average, the pacing feels rushed, and the emotions we are supposed to feel are predetermined from the start.

But then again, it is not about the art. As someone else has pointed out, "Suffragette" is to feminists what a Holocaust movie is to Jewish people. The criteria are different in evaluating this movie. As follows:

1) Does the movie evoke the reality of the feminist struggle back in the early 1900s?Yes, absolutely and in a way that you learn something you normally wouldn't know before.

2) Does the movie connect the feminist struggle then and now in such a way that feminism seems relevant?
Yes...it's hard to think of one issue raised by the movie that's actually been resolved. (The whole thing makes you want to vote for Hillary Clinton. It's a great campaign movie.)

3) Does it make you care about feminism, even if you didn't before?
I think so, but then again I'm biased. 

4) Is the movie historically accurate enough to serve as a relevant text?
It seemed that way to me, as though someone had paid attention to accuracy. To be honest, though, I haven't studied the history. 

5) Does the movie play dirty, i.e. by demonizing men?
Not at all. You really see that men are caught up in a sexist system. Some of them do take advantage of it, but definitely not all. Husbands, sons, police chiefs, politicians, and bystanders all struggle with the horror of oppressing half the human race.