The standard narrative of the biopic is as follows: the person was born on x date, they accomplished a,b, and c, and died on y date. They are known for (fill in the blank). The final product can go one of two ways. It can be an exciting and entertaining deep dive into the subject. Or, it can turn it into a paint-by-numbers story that comes straight out of a basic internet search.
The problem with this film is that it is boring. The inspiration and pride that should come from the tale is non-existent. Though the actors do their best, their best is not enough to save this tepid chronicle of an American legend.
August 18th, 1920 is watershed date in the lives of American women. It is the day that the 19th Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing every American woman the right to vote.
In 2004, HBO premiered Iron Jawed Angels , the true story of the women who fought for the right to vote.
Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor) are the leaders of the Suffragette movement, fighting for a national law providing women the right to vote. Standing in their way is not only the male led government, but the older generation, Carrie Chapman Catt (Angelica Huston) who are advocating a state by state pathway to the right to vote instead of a national law.
This movie should be seen by every American woman. These women are brought to life as fully developed characters, flaws and all. I am reminded of this movie when I vote for my political leaders, from the smallest local government to the presidential vote. Without these brave women, we would still be second class citizens, without rights and chattel to the men in our lives.
“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity” In their own time, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns were thought to be insane. But without their insanity, we would be living in a very different country.