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« HBO’s LGBT History: Citizen Cohn (1992) | Main | Review: Aloha's Good Intentions Can't Rescue It »
Wednesday
Jun032015

YNMS: Suffragette 

Every day since Cannes wrapped it's become clear that the Oscar charts must be updated. We were already banking on Focus Feature's Suffragette for a Best Picture nomination but when we update we might get even more bullish after this new trailer and that prime October real estate (October has been very kind to Best Pictures of late - December is so passe). Anyway, let's not get distracted with Best Picture talk.

Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan as Maud, a working wife and mother who is recruited to join the growing movement and becomes a fierce activist. Mulligan, having a great year with Far From The Madding Crowd's success and a Tony nomination, will likely reap Oscar traction if people like the film but she's backed up by quite the ensemble of talented ladies. Meryl Streep is apt to get all the glory, as she does, for her small role as Emmeline Pankhurst, a catalyst for the story and an icon of Suffragette history, but I'll be interested to see which other members of the supporting cast can win any attention or praise (if any) for strong characterizations or memorable scenes once people start seeing the whole film. Suffragette will premiere at the London Film Festival. 

The trailer and our Yes No Maybe So breakdown -- which we'll do a little differently this time -- after the jump...

 

Since we're an Enthusiastic Yes based on subject matter and cast and the first teaser, we'll just take this one scene by scene to see how much we'll stuff the Yes portion of this ballot box...

If we allow women to vote it will mean the loss of social structure..."

Yes. It's ballsy in a way to open with the angry conservative paranoia about social progress (history repeats itself endlessly in this regard, eh?) and then essentially prove that fear visually with a window of a serene domestic dolly situation being broken. 

VOTES FOR WOMEN!"

YES. But what really shifts the trailer from unsettling to an ode to righteous joyful anarchy is the look on this suffragette's face as she breaks a window. She wants us/Maud to see her. 'Join this righteous fight.'

Yes please, we shall.

Bonus Points: The actress Anne-Marie Duff (pictured above) is Mrs. James McAvoy so she's already a winner in life but she's also a terrific actress. She works mostly in British television (I guess she's the Emmy Rossum of the original "Shameless") but she was just great in Nowhere Boy (2009) so I'm hoping for a breakthrough here.

Yes. Awww, Ben Whishaw's sweet face. May he be a supportive husband of some kind in this rather than a deterrent like the other men. 

Yes. Carey Mulligan. Smart to open with her so cherubic and good mommy/wife before she gets some steel in her spine later in the trailer.

YES. For Your Consideration. Best Everything. The production design and costumes look beautiful and I enjoy the dusty palette. It's blues and tans and browns which is not reinventing any period wheel but at least it's a nice gentle warmer push away from the merely slate grey dour blue palette we've been seening in hundreds of movies this milennia to denote: THIS IS SERIOUS. 

- Are you a suffragette?
- I consider myself more of a soldier. 

Yes. Helena Bonham Carter considers herself a soldier. Free of Tim Burton's army we can finally cheer her on in the fight again.

Yes. Note the worshipful intro of Meryl Streep as Emmeline Prankhurst. A framed photo and two verbal references to her before we see her. That's smart trailer editing and stunt casting; Prankhurst is meant to invoke automatic worshipful awe in the suffragettes in the same exact way that Streep invokes automatic worshipful awe in audiences.

We've identified weaknesses in their ranks.

Yes. I love this shot of Brendan Gleeson's dossier. Here's to prop departments everywhere. Even this early in the trailer we're already sure the antagonists have underestimated Mulligan's gravitas. It's one of the bonuses of being a British actress. American starlets have to fight to achieve it during their careers but in the UK it's your birthright. 

Yes. Boo Hiss. Brendan Gleeson as a villain. Although this map shot almost veers into Maybe So for me because it gave me an uncomfortable flashback to Gangs of New York's with its ye olde timey battle for dominion of the streets. 

Yes. Meryl Streep comes out of her balcony like she's Eva Peron, only instead of merely lifting her hands in "worship me" Evita pose, she adjusts her hat. Meryl. Lover of Business. 

YES. Girls in Boy Drag. Wonderful since the dawn of cinema. 

YES-OMG-UNEXPECTED-REUNION-PLEASE-LET-THEM-HAVE-SCENES-TOGETHER. You mean to tell me that Samuel West is in hot water with Helena Bonham-Carter again? Anything that reminds us of Howard's End (total undervalued masterpiece) is a big "yes".

Yes. I can't take each beat of the trailer anymore because we've moved into the heavy montage as shit (by which we mean inhuman oppression of women) hits the fan and the women get beat up, arrested, have their children taken away from them and so on. Carey cries so well. 

YES. SISTERHOOD. 

Yes but scary. Olde Timey Irons are just terrifying, don't you think? Also this is a tough price to pay for touching someone's back but on the other hand, this jerk has probably done a lot worse to his female employees and we're assuming this be the last straw. 

This prompts a strange music cue. A "Landslide" cover. Mmmm, okay. Looking around twitter this is the only divisive part of the trailer. I am neither here nor there on its use but it's one of the greatest songs ever written so thanks for the reminder, movie trailer. Time for a little Fleetwood Mac frenzy chez moi. 

Yes. Love this shot of the women, presumably in prison, walking around in a circle. The things people did to secure rights that we, their descendants, take for granted. It's forever humbling. This might play like a total prequel to Selma. But with probably better Oscar luck. 

YES. If Helena Bonham Carter can get away from the cartoony schtick (2000-2015) and back to being a real actress again (1986-1999) the whole universe benefits.

We break windows. We burn things.
Because war is the only language men listen to."

YES. Carey's exhausted eyes, slipping out of focus on her oppressor as if she sees right beyond him into hard-earned future. Chills. I got literal chills watching this. A rarity for a trailer. I hate to be gross and bring up Oscar when I'm just excited for the movie as an experience at this moment but this tiny beat made me think Carey Mulligan could be a contender for the actual Best Actress statue this year, not just a nomination. Updating my Oscar charts tomorrow!

 

VOTE in the comments. It's your hard-earned right. Are you a Yes, No, or are you going third party this time with a Maybe So? 

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Reader Comments (34)

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. YES.

I cried watching both trailers. I had goosebumps all over. I don't remember ever having such a reaction to a trailer. When she said "because war is the only language men listen to" I didn't know whether to cry more or get up and clap. I love this movie already.

I'm trying not to get too excited about its reviews and Oscar/awards chances because it's a movie about women, directed by a woman, written by a woman, starring mostly women who are fighting for women's rights. I mean, it's everything the majority of critics/voters (aka white middle-aged men) hate.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKiki

I am going to place myself 100% on the Yes column for the Landslide cover and I don't care who disagrees with me. It gave me chills and made me happy... and yes, I'm that easy to please. lol.

Also, yes to everything else in the trailer. Looking forward to this!!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris James

Maybe that wig is HBC's period good luck charm.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

Yeah this trailer totally made me a believer on this one. It even sold me on Carey Mulligan (who I have been souring on lately)! YES.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

This years Prestige brit flick,imp message,stellar cast,good writer,Mulligan and HBC look best in show.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

SO MUCH YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I'm right there with you. Been bullish on this all year, and it remains the same. This is going to be huge.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Yes for me. I got chills watching the trailer as well. Landslide cover is beautiful.

I hope Meryl Streep's performance, however small or large, doesn't take us out of the film as she has a tendency to overact. But I can't wait!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

"Because war is the only language men listen to." sold me on it. Really is kind of sad how the events depicted in this are a still a mirror to today.

Just doing a quick Google search of the film shows that most people describe it as a "Meryl Streep film," which isn't totally surprising considering her level of fame. The trailer makes it seem like she just has a cameo (didn't she shoot her scenes in a day or two?). Regardless, looks like one of many rousing moments.

Yes on the Landslide cover. In fact, the entire trailer is a YAS QUEEN moment.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Firstly, I will definitely be seeing the film, and was going to anyway before I saw the trailer. It's interesting seeing a History film where women are at the forefront instead of in the background.

Secondly, when discussing Meryl Streep, it's written that her character is Mrs PRANKHURST, when of course it's PANKhurst.

Thirdly, Herbert Asquith, who is Helena Bonham Carter's great grand-father, was Prime Minister of the UK when the film's events take place, and was AGAINST votes for women.

Fourthly, I WILL be singing the Suffragette song from Mary Poppins whenever I read about the film, and after seeing the film.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Man, what a powerful trailer! If the movie is at least half as good as this, we are in for a real treat. I always though of Carey Mulligan as a sweet, fragile woman but now I see I´ve been underestimating her big time.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuca

Absolutely!!! Can't wait .. the film is coming at a very good time in both real and film history....

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Really excited for this and enjoyed your analysis! I did, however, think this was a bit unfair:

"If Helena Bonham Carter can get away from the cartoony schtick (2000-2015) and back to being a real actress again (1986-1999) the whole universe benefits."

HBC still did great work in the 2000s ('Live from Baghdad,' 'Enid,' 'Toast,' 'Burton and Taylor,' etc.), it's just that she mainly had to go to television to get those parts. And I thought her acting as Mrs. Lovett was great, even if she doesn't have a Broadway voice. Hope this is a great showcase for her!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I haven't seen the trailer but based on the pictures and your write-up and the fact that two of my favourite actors at the moment (Mulligan, Gleeson) are both in this, HUGE yes.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Maybe so. This looks and sounds like every other slightly musty British historical drama ever made. I'm sure it will be professionally mounted, well acted, and stirring in a completely rote, Pavlovian way. We're really supposed to celebrate a "dusty" blue and brown color scheme? The subject matter is worth exploring, but I'm baffled by the enthusiasm on display here. I mean, I'm not, because ACTRESSES. This isn't as baffling as the collective joygasm over Ricki and the Flash, but it's close. This seems like a strong early contender for the 2015 Memorial "Modestly Accomplished Movie That Critics Overpraise Because It Aligns With Their Politics" award.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Mulligan's performance seems so extraordinary. That final scene!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Could they just cast a British Dame as Pankhurst? Really? I am so tired of Meryl Streep. And I hope that her role is as limited as ever.

Carey Mulligan, Anne Marie Duff and Helena Bonham Carter are on fire!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Roark nailed it.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

Oh I am so excited for this. Saw Carey in Skylight a few weeks ago and it is without question one of the greatest stage performances I've witnessed. Sadly she'll lose the Tony to Mirren (ugh) but this trailer has me thinking like you that she could go all the way with this role.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

I love the Landslide cover. Is it really divisive? Why? Anyways, who sings it?

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I pretty much agree with Roark, but I do like what I see from Carey Mulligan. She looks to be doing sensational work here. The Landslide cover is lovely on its own, but I don't like it in the trailer.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Ryan T -- no i meant it's placement in the trailer was divisive. Not the song itself.

Jordan -- Dame Helen approaches her EGOT. just needs to read a book in character as the Queen and she can complete the quartet.

Roark -- why not celebrate a color scheme if it looks beautifully handled as it at least not exactly like every other serious movie's color scheme.

Mike -- maybe it was slightly unfair but hte point remains that HBC was coasting A LOT after her revelatory work in the late 90s (Wings of the Dove and Fight Club performances are just both so Oscar worthy, psychologically surerfooted and superbly realized)

June 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Tears, chills, prickly hairs. You name it, I had it. October needs to be here. Yesterday.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

I have been pulling for this movie since it was announced.
I think men are going to be shocked at two things:
1. How many wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters are going to go to this film.
2. How violently suffragettes were treated by police and the establishment in general.
They may also be shocked to learn how much of this history isn't taught in schools.
It's this years "Gone Girl" or "Thelma & Louise".

HBC did some great work recently in "Turks & Caicos" and it's sequel "Salting the Battlefield"

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Also regarding HBC: her Oscar-nominated turn in The King's Speech wasn't groundbreaking, but I loved it to pieces.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Just coming to express my love for Helena Bonham Carter in The Wings Of The Dove. People go on about Judi Dench losing for Mrs Brown, but my Best Actress of that year goes to HBC.

Also, HBC is better at playing the Queen Mother than Judi is at playing Queen Victoria.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

This looks great, although speaking of Oscar, watch Brendan Gleeson become the lightning rod of awards attention.

Anne-Marie Duff was EXCELLENT in The Magdaline Sisters from, I think 2002. So, so good. I've been angling for her to become a big deal ever since.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

"I hate to be gross and bring up Oscar..."

because that would never happen here...?

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Streep is just a cameo... Very limited role but they sure are marketing it elsewhere as Streep's Suffragette.... Now THAT is star power

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

@Jamie, yeah, every headline has Streep's name front and center.
Streep is always a good sport about showing up and marketing her movies. So we can expect her to do the talk show rounds in the US and UK. Helena and Meryl together on the press circuit would be so much fun.

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdela

I think Meryl agreed to be in this movie because it's a subject matter she deeply cares about, she's quite the activist and has been for a very long time. She'll also be able to sell the movie to a wider audience, she's American and that will benefit the box office success of the product and most importantly her Oscar history means that Oscar voters will watch this and nominate Carey ACTRESS OF HER GENERATION Mulligan for Best Actress.

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Who - Does - That - Cove - of - Landslider?!? Doesn't anyone know? It is beautiful and haunting and I HAVE TO FIND IT!

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark Stevens

The cover is by Robyn sherwell I believe

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis

Yes it is! I did finally find it and couldn't find my way back here to post it!

June 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark Stevens

it's just that she mainly had to go to television to get those parts. And I thought her acting as Mrs. Lovett was great, even if she doesn't have a Broadway voice. Hope this is a great showcase for her!

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllison Watson

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