Susan B Anthony wrote in 1900, "No advanced step taken by women has been so bitterly contested as that of speaking in public. For nothing which they have attempted, not even to secure suffrage, have they been so abused, condemned, and antagonized." In the UK, World War I diverted the suffragettes, but in 1918, suffrage was granted to women over 30 with property qualifications (21 for men,19 for men who had fought in the war). In 1928, UK women gained suffrage rights equal to men.
Suffragette was the first commercial project to shoot inside the real Houses of Parliament rather than on a constructed set, but the grit and urgency of the plot remove any likeness to the usual dignified British period drama. Much of the action is filmed with hand-held camera making it feel like contemporary news, drawing you into the urgency of our own style women-in-danger thrillers, here depicting the 1912-1913 period of British government-inflicted beatings, force-feedings, and repeated imprisonments (below, prison yard).
Iron Lady, gaining her an Academy Award, was scripted by Suffragette's Ms Morgan.)
Fern Riddell, writing for British publication History Today (2015) decries the lack of engagement by historians on the subject of suffragette militancy, which she calls "an evolution of the social revolutionary spirit that had been sweeping Europe since the 18th century and their uses of public masculine language of war combined with violent actions.....". One suffragette militant she describes is Kitty Marion, music hall artist. Marion's autobiography tells the story of her radicalization because of the indignities suffered by women on the stage who were expected to trade sex for roles and be targets of random assault; Kitty Marion needs her own biopic. (Read Riddell's article here.)
Geoff Bell), misery accepted as the price of employment. She has no words to express the indignities, only furtive action to protect the most vulnerable from assault; but it is easy to imagine Maud's suppressed pain being triggered into rage by friends already radicalized.
Brendan Gleeson (Braveheart's Hamish) as a police official with a smidgen of empathy and Ben Whishaw (at right, above) Maud's working class spouse whose humiliation over his wife's growing activism finally leads him to refuse to let her come home after a miserable stint in jail.
Emily Wilding Davison, who threw herself in front of a horse owned by the king in 1913 to be trampled to death at Epsom race course (shown in archival photo, below).