Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Iron Jawed Angels- American Suffragettes

Every woman in the world should see Iron Jawed Angels. Heck, every man in the world should see this fabulous film, while sitting beside the women in their lives. Although this is the story of women in the United States of America fighting for their right to vote in the early years of the 20th Century there is a lesson for all of us in 2013 and beyond. We are ALL equal in this world. No matter your sex, your colour, your religion or sexuality. We are ALL equal. Full stop.

You will also never skip voting again, even in a minor municipal election EVER, EVER, again if you see this film. When you see how hard these women worked a century ago to win the right for us to vote, you will never squander that chance again. You will walk through the rain, in the dark for an hour to get to the polling station if you have to.

But beyond the amazing and empowering message, this is an awesome flick!!!! Hilary Swank plays Alice Paul, an American Quaker who traveled to England to attend the University of Birmingham and brought back the more militant ideas of the Pankhurst women but without the violence. She was a Quaker after all!

Frances O'Connor plays Lucy Burns (Alma Mater- Columbia, Vassar, Yale and Oxford) who met Alice Paul in a London police station after they had both been arrested for demonstrating alongside the British Suffragettes. They bonded immediately and decided to continue their fight for women's voting rights back in America in 1912.

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns start off working within the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) headed by Carrie Chapman Catt, played by Anjelica Huston. By 1916 they broke away and formed their own political party the National Women's Party (NWP) and organized a daily picket outside the White House during Woodrow Wilson's presidency.

A real Iron Jawed Angel demonstrating against President Wilson
They ran into trouble after the US joined WWI in 1917 and picketing a wartime president was considered by some to be treasonous, however the women were breaking no laws. They were arrested instead on charges of "obstructing traffic".

The real Lucy Burns incarcerated in Occoquan  Workhouse
While incarcerated at Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia, the women asked to be treated as political prisoners and went on hunger strikes in protest. I had previously read about the force feeding of women hunger striking suffragettes in England but when you see it on film it is horrific. Again, you will never take your right to vote lightly after seeing this film.

But this is not a downer movie. It has a rockin' modern musical score and sometimes feels more like a music video than a period drama. And this works to it's advantage. It could easily be shown in high schools to both boys and girls who will be riveted by the great story. German director Katja von Garnier (who is a dead ringer for Kate Middleton) did a fab job with this film. And the supporting cast of Julia Ormond, Laura Fraser (the blacksmith from Knight's Tale), Vera Farmiga and Patrick Dempsey are a few other good reasons to see it.

So what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk to see Iron Jawed Angels right now.

By the way, the best comment ever posted on my blog was left by Bridget on my post Suffragettes in Film- "Deeds, not words!" Bridget says it way better than I ever could!



  1. " We are ALL equal in this world. No matter your sex, your colour, your religion or sexuality. We are ALL equal. Full stop."
    HEAR, HEAR and no matter how often it is said, I don't think it is said often enough....many people will display the words but not truly mean or understand them.

    1. Hi mommbsta! Let's just keep saying it and hope it finally sinks in around the world some day. I guess we have to hope that as the world seems to shrink with world travel and the internet, that equality for all will eventually happen. I hope it doesn't take until we are traveling to other galaxies like in Star Trek. (another great film, but I won't review that one!)

      I think you would enjoy this one. It will rile you up but it's not a downer!

  2. I am so glad you liked the movie....and thanks. I was stunned to read my name and then realize that it was MY name LOL.

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment on the Suffragette post. I had to run and show it to my husband right away!

      Think of me the next time you vote. I'll be thinking of you. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll be watching this one soon.

    1. You and I both have a long TBW pile, don't we? No complaints here however. I'm glad I am not running out of films to blog about! :)

  4. Replies
    1. They certainly were brave women, those suffragettes! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Just checked this out from library and watched it again for the fourth is amazing! Every highschool student should watch this!

  6. Awesome post! If anyone is in the DC area this November, come to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to see an original musical on this same story of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Ida Wells and the other ladies in this powerful movement.




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