Film Friday #254

Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette follows the struggles of the early feminist movement as a group of women organise and fight for their right to vote. Central to the struggle is Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a young wife and mother who has spent her life working under brutal conditions in a laundry. While she is initially skeptical about the idea of getting involved as she spends more time with Violet (Ann-Marie Duff), Maggie (Grace Stottor) and Edith (Helena Bonham Carter) she realises that what they’re fighting for could change not only her life but the lives of all women. As actions of the Suffragettes become more violent the consequences of their actions become ever more devastating with Maud left homeless, destitute without access to her child and involved in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the police. Considering the subject matter, I feel like Suffragette should have been a really emotional watch. As someone who cares ardently about equal rights I expected to be deeply moved by the terrible struggles that my foremothers went through (and trust me that some of the the things that happen in this film are absolutely terrible) but there’s something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on… something cold and clinical that distances the viewer from the happenings in a way that removes impact. While Mulligan gives a a nuanced and committed performance it’s not enough to save Suffragette from being… well… boring, which breaks my heart. 2.5/5

I cannot believe I let you talk me into this bloody hat

I cannot believe I let you talk me into this bloody hat

He Named me Malala (2015)

I think there are very few people who don’t know who Malala Yousafzai is but just in case, she’s a a teenage Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban when she stood up for the rights of girls to be educated. After Malala was shot she she was brought to the UK to recover and used her situation as a platform to bring the world’s attention to the fact that millions of girls around the world have no access to education. Through interviews with Malala and her family and friends as well as animated reenactments Malala’s incredible story and her subsequent amazing journey unfolds. I have to admit that apart from the bare facts I didn’t know very much about Malala but through this intimate documentary I felt like I not only got to know her but also her incredible family, especially her simply awesome dad, Ziauddin. Not only is Malala an inspiring, courageous and forgiving person but she’s also a very normal, sweet and charming teenage girl who lights up every room she’s in. Watching her relationship with her father and the influence he has had on Malala is truly beautiful and its not difficult to see why she has captivated the world. I would absolutely recommend He Named me Malala as the warm and touching antidote to Suffragette’s cold lack of heart. 4/5

rajhheh

Malala was always willing to fight for the last Rolo

Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

I swear I didn’t intentionally line up this blog to be about female equality but somehow it’s just ended up that way. Anyway… Mona Lisa Smile tells the story of Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) and art professor who joins an elite women’s college as an art professor in the conservative 50’s. Her class is made up of highly intelligent young ladies who enjoy her free-thinking classes but mostly appear to have decided study further to find husbands and start families. As Katherine attempts to influence her best pupils, who include Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst), Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles), Connie Baker (Ginnifer Goodwyn) and Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to strive for more she must face her own messy love life and Wellesley College’s lack of enthusiasm for her unusual teaching methods. With an outstanding cast and some excellent performances (even from Roberts), Mona Lisa Smile is charming and uplifting but ultimately to simplistic to really pack the punch its hoping for. While watching Betty’s marriage unravel and her initial hostile relationship towards the sexually adventurous Giselle, change is interesting it feels like director, Mike Newell, isn’t prepared to really scratch below the surface of his characters’ motivations. A lovely way to while a way an afternoon and think about the teachers that influenced your life. 3/5

Michael Fassbender's penis was enough to take even the harshest critic's breath away

Michael Fassbender’s penis was enough to take even the harshest critic’s breath away

Results (2015)

Trevor (Guy Pearce) owns Power 4 Life gym where he preaches a holistic commitment to health and fitness and spends a lot of time sculpting his own body. His top trainer and occasional lover is Kat (Cobie Smulders), a somewhat immature and manipulative woman who has a tendency to harass her clients for payment when she’s not stealing other peoples’ clients. One such client is Danny (Kevin Corrigan) an odd, extremely wealthy man who just wants someone to teach him how to take a punch. When he catapults into Trevor and Kat’s lives he throws them completely out of whack forcing them not only to assess their own identities but also their feelings for each other. This is probably in the top ten most boring movies I have ever seen. I absolutely can’t be arsed to say very much more about it than that. The characters are weird, not in a cool quirky way but in a horrible annoying way that makes you wish they’d all get eaten by giant sharks. Avoid like the plague. 0/5

vrgrgr

Have I ever told you that you’re a massive douche?

24 Comments

  1. Excellent post, I liked the feminist streak running through it Abbi. I grew up around strong women who have really influenced me.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks! You are a very lucky man!

      1. Indeed and that’s part of the reason I love movies with a strong female character at the centre.

  2. GaryGreg828

    I thought that “Results” seemed interesting and then I saw your “0” stars rating. lol. It can’t be that bad! Can it? lol.

    1. abbiosbiston

      My flatmate and I got about halfway in and we were like why are we doing this to ourselves and my answer was that I couldn’t review it if I didn’t finish it. But wfo knows… maybe there was just something there we missed.

      1. GaryGreg828

        lol. You just hate everything that doesn’t star Julia Roberts!!

        1. abbiosbiston

          You’re right. She is my faaaaavourite!

  3. Sounds like Suffraggete really missed a beat. The t-shirts at the premiere didn’t go down to well either.

    1. (I loved Suffragette) 😉

    2. abbiosbiston

      Yeah… I so badly wanted it to be awesome but it was so flat.

  4. Nice reviews, Abbi! Lol – I love that Mona Lisa Smile photo caption. I think that’s what my face looked like as I watched Shame. 😉 But I’m sorry Suffragette didn’t work for you. Damn. I actually thought it was REALLY good! Hmm. :-/

    1. abbiosbiston

      As did mine! I am glad you enjoyed it. Maybe my expectations were just too high. I wanted so much from Suffragette and it just didn’t deliver for me.

  5. The movie I’m most interested in is He Named me Malala, I haven’t heard of this story before. It’s sounds tragic and inspiring. Good post!

    1. abbiosbiston

      It’s an amazing story and she is a very special person. You should check it out.

  6. I’m actually quiet interested in seeing sufferage. Not a fan of MLS because it felt too preachy. Have no real desire to see either of the other two.

    great work as always Abs!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I didn’t find MLS preachy at all but I can see why it might have come across like that. I’d be interested to see what you think of Suffragette.

  7. Oy, bummer about Results, I like Guy Pearce but I find it hard to be excited about that movie. As for Suffragette, I read earlier today how it struggled to find an audience. What a bummer considering the important topic, but the film was boring to boot, NOT a good thing.

    1. abbiosbiston

      I feel like Suffragette should have had a massive audience but it just lets itself down and I think word of mouth probably killed it.

      Don’t watch Results. It’s absolutely awful!

  8. I hate giving a negative review to a film about such important subject matter, but I’m in total agreement with you on Sufragette. They bungled the story. I talk about this in my review. It’s the ultimate indignity to the struggle of these brave women that you unwittingly start to question Maud’s decisions. Was becoming a domestic bomber and arsonist really the correct path? This shouldn’t happen in a tale about courageous women fighting for equal rights, but strangely it does.

    1. abbiosbiston

      We’re definitely on the same page. The whole thing just made me sad!

  9. A feminist streak xD Nothing wrong with that at all.

    However… Results? AVOIDING.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Stay very far away from Results…

  10. Ben

    I agree with what you say about Suffragette lacking “something.” I think it tries too hard to fit every aspect in and you often feel like your being talked at rather than invested in the events. It would have worked better had it picked a key moment and built around that rather than trying so hard to cram so much in about the struggle.

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