Film Review: Suffragette

Suffragette movie poster featureing Meryl Streep Cary Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter


I could absolutely kick myself for not watching Suffragette sooner. Released in 2015, it has taken me a long while to get round to watching it – mainly due to not being in the “right” mood to watch it. Turns out I’d been putting it off for no reason.

You don’t have to be in a history, feminist or angry mood to watch Suffragette because by the end of it you’re completely enthralled in their world and feel their suffering and passion. That is the best thing about this film and it is largely down to writer Abi Morgan who walks you through the story of one suffragette, Maud Watts, played marvellously by Carey Mulligan. We watch Maud gradually realise it was her duty to stand up and campaign for the vote in the heartbreaking circumstances she finds herself in.

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Perhaps one of the most striking parts of Suffragette is the honesty of it. In the factories where the women worked, they would often be sexually assaulted and raped by the men who ran and owned them. The scenes of sexual assault and rape are not graphic and nor do they need to be: we know it happens and that is enough to make you feel disgusted and angry at this ugly part of British history. It also makes you understand why the suffragettes used violence. They had campaigned for decades peacefully to get the vote but they weren’t listened to. Yet they were abused and violated and were expected to put up with it?

It is no wonder these incredibly strong women blew up letter boxes and followed the orders of their leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who is portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film.


Suffragette absolutely attracted the big names in the business, including Helena Bonham Carter who plays Edith New, a doctor whose husband is in the minority by supporting the movement. Bonham Carter’s character is part of the group of women the film follows who were followed by British intelligence as to give a clue to the whereabouts of Emmeline Pankhurst as they were considered to be on the ‘front line’ of the movement, being so close to London.

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Overall, this film is one of the most moving and powerful I have seen in my whole life. It is heartbreaking, but it is necessary. As a woman, watching Suffragette made me feel incredibly grateful to these women who literally put their life on the line so that me – and all of the girls in this country – can vote, run for office, go to university and have the same rights as men. We’re not there yet, but we’re only where we are because of them.

So, watch Suffragette. If not for yourself, do it for the women who, like Emily Wilding Davison did in real life and in the film, gave their life for our freedom.