Carey Mulligan is Maud Watts, who initially is quite frightened to be associated with the rough, tough suffragettes but due to an emotional change of circumstances, she becomes enthralled with the prospect of getting change which inspires her to become more involved in the suffragette cause.
The really excellent this about this film is that you can understand why the people (some men were also involved) were compelled to fight for equality but also why some people were unable to. Violet Miller, one of the women who introduce Maud to the suffragette movement, found herself pregnant again and therefore could not sustain the prison sentences that the suffragettes were subject to. But when, like Maud Watts, you find yourself with nothing to lose, with your child taken away because you as a woman have no rights to that child, then you have the incentive behind you to fight and fight so that one day women are not treated like that.
Although some of the characters are not real women, their stories are painfully true. The struggles that the women went through to get the freedoms that we have today.
Other characters however, like Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding-Davison serve as an inspiration, both then and now. Emmeline’s “deeds not words” emphasised how women could not continue to just peacefully protest, they must fight for what they believe in and if people don’t listen – make them. Wilding-Davison is the classic example of making people listen, in front of the King and in front of the World’s press she walked out into the Royal Ascot horse races and sadly died a few days later in the local cottage hospital.
One thing I definitely thought about as I watched the film, was if I was living in that time, would I have been a suffragette? Would I have fought, gone against the grain and hit out for what I believed in? Would I have gone to prison for that cause, gone on hunger strike for that cause, died for that cause?
Well, I can never be sure what I would have done, but what I do know is that the women who did fight, I want to say thank you because of their strength and resilience I have the freedom and opportunity to get an education, to have the vote and be involved in anything from history to economics. I hope that if I had been alive, I would have taken inspiration from them and at least contributed something to the cause.
At the end of the film, they listed when women got the vote across the world. For the UK, women didn’t get the vote equally with men until 1928. I wish though, they had filmed a short scene where that was passed and to see the celebrations of the women, although perhaps the fact that they didn’t, shows that we have not yet finished the fight.
There are still things that need to change across the world, still things that we need to stand up for.
Emmeline Pankhurst once said: “Justice and judgment lie often a world apart”.
Have a wonderful week,