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Film: “Suffragette,” 2015

Suffragette. Director: Sarah Gavron. Performer: Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan. Ruby Films, 2015.

Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Documentary Film, Film

Suffragette is a 2015 historical drama set in the suffrage era in the UK:

In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan). Galvanized by political activist Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Watts joins a diverse group of women who fight for equality and the right to vote. Faced with increasing police action, Maud and her dedicated suffragettes must play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, risking their jobs, homes, family and lives for a just cause.

The film used Pankhurst’s quote “I would rather be a rebel than a slave” in its marketing materials, sparking debate about the intersection between racism and feminism (this op-ed by Ana Stevenson analyzes the controversy in a historical context).

The New York Times calls Suffragette “stirring and cleareyed—the best kind of history lesson.” Read the full review here.

For an interesting commentary on the differences in media coverage of the British and American suffrage movements related to this film, see this blog by Elisabeth MacNamara of the League of Women Voters of Georgia.

To learn about the six real-life women that inspired the film, see this article by Sara Kettler. 

The film can be purchased to watch on Amazon Video and YouTube. 

The official trailer for Suffragette is below:


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