Suffragette is a fictionalized story of a cell of women who fought for women’s right to vote in England in the early 1900s. Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby), Anne-Marie Duff (The Madeline Sisters) and Helena Bonham Carter star. Mulligan plays the main character, while Duff and Bonham Carter have supporting roles.
Meryl Streep — in misleading marketing — is billed as starring but she’s only in one scene. Streep plays England’s real life movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst.
Mulligan is Maud Watts. She and her husband Sonny work in a laundry and have a nice little boy. Life is hard, but they seem happy. The plot plods slowly along, and then things happen at the laundry that drag a reluctant Maud into the fray.
That involvement eventually turns tragic.
You are never connected to Maud or to her co-conspirators. No matter what happens to them, you feel nothing. It’s just a story about a space in time where injustice for women ruled. There is a scene about two-thirds the way through the movie involving Maud that should have — at the very least — generated anger and sorrow, or both, and emotions that border on tears.
But you feel nothing.
Admittedly, the acting is superb. That’s a given, considering the cast, but writer Abi Morgan’s (The Iron Lady) script and her characters lack depth. Director Sarah Gavron — who hasn’t done anything you’ve heard of — then takes those two-dimensional characters and Morgan’s so-so script, wastes the terrific performances and pretty much makes this a paint-by-numbers movie experience.
Director: Sarah Gavron
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Natalie Press and Meryl Streep
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.