YNMS: Suffragette 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 1:24PM
NATHANIEL R in Anne-Marie Duff, Best Actress, Best Picture, Brendan Gleeson, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Oscars (15), Suffragette, Yes No Maybe So, gender politics, politics

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...

Suffragette - Trailer No. 1


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. 


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 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? 

Article originally appeared on The Film Experience (http://thefilmexperience.net/).
See website for complete article licensing information.