By AISLING MCENTEGART
The women’s suffrage movement is a story of courage, perseverance and unity. This tale is beautifully told in “Suffragette,” which follows the journey of Maude (Carey Mulligan), a young mother working in a laundry facility who finds herself swept up by the women’s rights movement.
This film features an all-star cast who paint a striking picture of the women’s suffrage movement. Mulligan, along with Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep bring a great deal of depth to this film. This historically significant topic is often overlooked, making this film even more worthwhile.
“As a group of women, we felt very excited to be the ones who are finally going to get to tell the story, because it’s such a huge part of our history that’s been so completely neglected,” said Mulligan.
Mulligan felt a great deal of empowerment from working with some of the film industry’s most well known women, especially considering how male dominated the film industry still remains today.
“Working with this big group of women was really empowering and exciting. [The film industry is] a really male-dominated industry and a lot of the time you feel like the only girl in a room of lots of men,” said Mulligan. “That can be wearing after a while. So getting to work with this many women was brilliant.”
Mulligan gives a truly enchanting performance, captivating audiences with every line she delivers. Maude’s transition from a quiet, young woman following the status quo to a passionate member of the suffragette movement is thrilling to watch and was one of Mulligan’s favorite aspects of her involvement in the film.
“I was most excited about taking [on] the role [because Maude] starts the film as such an ordinary woman,” said Mulligan. “It’s through this journey, through meeting these women that she becomes extraordinary. I really wanted to try and make that feel real and believable.”
In a time when there are conversations regarding gender equality on a daily basis, this film shows the importance of perseverance and refusal to accept injustices. While women living in progressive societies have the right to vote today, they are still faced with many inequalities, such as unequal pay.
“I think a lot of the issues in the film are hugely relevant now. One of them is definitely the pay gap [in the film industry]. In a lot of ways, there are lots of things that we haven’t improved on really in 100 years,” said Mulligan.
As Maude becomes more invested in the women’s suffrage movement, she experiences disapproval from those around her. When she refuses to stop fighting for equal rights, she is faced with cruel punishments. This was one of the most challenging aspects of the film for Mulligan.
“You kind of worry that at a certain point the tears are going to run out and you’re going to have to start faking it,” said Mulligan.
The authenticity of this film is compelling. The attention to detail is impressive with the creators going above and beyond to ensure the highest level of authenticity. Filming even took place in the British House of Parliament, which required special permission.
“It was amazing. It was a massive, massive privilege. We were really recreating history,” said Mulligan.
While Maude is a fictional character, she is based on the experiences of real life women involved in the suffragette movement. Mulligan enjoyed the research process that went into her preparation for her role.
“I think part of the excitement for me was that I got to really dive into the research for this role. My character was based on lots of accounts of real women,” said Mulligan. “To get to read these letters and prison diaries written by these women and to read accounts of what their working lives were like and the testimonies they gave in Parliament [was] just amazing.”
At the core of this film is the desire to inspire and teach viewers that in the fight for equality, determination and solidarity is a major component of success. Mulligan hopes that the film will encourage viewers to stand up for what they believe in.
“The intention of the film is to inspire people, ask people to take action for something that they believe in and I feel the film really helped me to have the kind of confidence to be able to do that,” said Mulligan.
With its killer cast and important subject matter, “Suffragette” is a must see. This film will give moviegoers a sense of appreciation for the sacrifices made the by the women of the past who paved the way toward gender equality. “Suffragette” is being shown in theaters nationwide now.