Oscar-winner Hilary Swank stars in a fresh and contemporary look at a pivotal event in American history, telling the true story of how a pair of defiant and brilliant young activists took the women's suffrage movement by s... more »torm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:With Director Katja von Garnier and writer Sally Robinson
Kindra K. (Onion) from SAN ANTONIO, TX Reviewed on 8/31/2010...
Very good movie!
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Seeing this movie is a revolutionary experience
Robin Orlowski | United States | 08/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Only because Mary Poppins was released during the beginning of America's second wave of feminism was its `sister suffragettes' number inspiring during that film.
Yet the 1964 snippet of British suffrage tactics completely and convieniently overlooked their radical strategies in favor of bouncy and pert cheerleading which could otherwise found at a high school game. While acknowledging the need for women's rights, that same film also presented the women as pampered housewives who were really too busy for their families.
Thank goodness this HBO movie is much more realistic about the American-British radical suffrage struggle.
Alice Paul (Hillary Swank) and company may be conventionally attractive, but they are also not afraid to show how openly ticked off they are about being held to laws they cannot help form.
Much to the chagrin of the older `respectable' American suffragists (who want to wait for men to give them the vote), the British experience encourages demand for full sociopolitical equality. When they are jailed for their convictions, the women refuse to eat. By our modern expectations, the prison response (shown in graphic detail) is especially brutal.
For all of their progressive politics, Paul and company downplay race ironically in a time when such justice is most needed. Paul personally welcomes support of Delta Sigma Theta and other African American organizations, but worries their public presence will either undo or prevent the critical southern support necessary to winning suffrage. It is not easy to admit that our movement has an imperfect past, but it is important to ensuring a socially just future for all members. This conciousness is a marked improvement from days when even feminists themselves assumed their experiences applied for all women and race was a separate issue.
Another plus, this same movie recognizes men have always supported the suffrage movement not because they wanted a partner, already had one, or were lobbied until they had no other public choice---but out of similar social justice concern.
Again, earlier suffrage depictions (as with the larger feminist movement) erroneously claimed that the movement was all women. This more accurate historical picture may convince male viewers they have a similar obligation to work for the continuation of modern women's equality. Other men will question their motives and some women will question their sincerity. But equality is really everybody's fight.
Attending a college, which was founded by many suffragists, the emphasis on women college graduates (then a statistical minority) was especially sobering. Despite our current knowledge of women's studies and gender theory, I don't think my generation (including myself) appreciates how fortunate we are when we would have been jeered at in earlier generations for receiving a college degree. After seeing this movie, I walked across my own campus trying to imagine some of the local townspeople (opposed to the idea of women receiving a college education in their town) threatening us on a near constant basis.
Precisely because Paul's Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified by the required states by the 1982 deadline, the film ends on a melancholy note. Paul's work remains half-finished and we have moral obligation to ensure the ERA becomes part of the constitution.
Encouraging viewers to complete the revolution, the movie turns armchair loungers into activists.
While not perfect, I applaud this film. It made me think.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 12/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2004 HBO movie depicts the struggles of the early suffragette movement, which eventually gave women in the United States the right to vote. Spanning the years from 1912 to 1920, it stars Hilary Swank as Alice Paul who led the fight with ultimate courage. There's some interesting history of which I was unaware. And the filmmakers seem to get the theme across. At the time, it was a state-by-state decision as to whether or not women could vote. But Alice Paul wanted to make it a constitutional amendment. There is, of course, is in-fighting in the movement itself with the old factions, led by Anjelica Huston, as Carrie Chapman Catt, preferring to not make a fuss and quietly let each state decide. Alice Paul, however, confronted the establishment head on and brought down some dour consequences on herself and the group of women who followed her lead.
At first I was annoyed at the film. I felt their wardrobes too lavish and the potential romance between Alice and a Washington Post cartoonist was silly. I also thought the women seemed a bit too modern and politically correct. And, frankly, I thought of turning off my DVD and never reviewing this film.
But then there was a scene in which the police turned their backs on protecting a festive parade in which women and children were demonstrating. When the mobs attacked the women I felt real tears dripping down my face. And then, later, when the women were horribly mistreated in prison, I found myself crying again, especially when they force-fed Alice Paul and we see them pushing tubes down her throat and through her nose. By the end of the film I understood exactly what these brave women had gone through in order to give me a privilege that I take for granted. I also know that I have learned a new appreciation for my right to vote and will never take that right for granted again.
While not perfect, I applaud this film. It brought me a new understanding. It will bring it to you too. Recommended."
Best Suffrage Movie I've Seen
Anne Turring | Virginia, USA | 08/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a big fan of historical films, I always get nervous before seeing a movie whose subject is one that I am passionate about. Therefore I was quite apprehensive about this movie.
Turns out, it was the best pull off of all suffrace films. Touching and accurate, with the right amount of heart, humour, and intelligence, this movie made for an enjoyable and educating experience. It reminded me why I am glad to be a woman."
PluckyDog | Alberta, Canada | 07/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie - it was eloquently written, cast, and filmed. The acting was beautiful, smart, and memorable. The filming talent was flawless. I've seen it 4 times now, and I am still deeply moved every time. I can't wait until it comes out on video - I'll be among the first to purchase it!"
The Hard-Fought Victory for Women's Suffrage.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 09/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Iron Jawed Angels" dramatizes the last leg of the fight to win the right to vote for American women. It focuses on the work of young suffragettes Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O'Conner) from their arrival in Washington, D.C. in 1912 until just before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920. Paul and Burns represented the younger generation of suffragettes who were less willing to bide their time playing politics until the nation's politicians came around to their way of thinking. They were brash, bold, brave and so self-righteous that they must have thought themselves invincible. But the time for extreme tactics had come, and even picketing President Woodrow Wilson during the US's involvement in World War I ultimately produced good results, though at a high price. "Iron Jawed Angels" follows Paul and Burns' fight for the vote through their atttention-stealing Inauguration Day parade in 1912, attempts to lobby Congress, their split with the National Women's Suffrage Association, formation of the National Women's Party, their 1916 cross-country trip to rally voters against any Democratic candidate who opposed a constitutional amendment giving women the vote, and their imprisonment for picketing a wartime president and subsequent hunger strike. There is constant strife between Alice Paul and the older generation of suffragettes, who are experienced in the ways of government and politically savvy, but disdain the obnoxious tactics that the younger generation embrace. Most notable of the older generation of suffragettes is Carrie Chapman Catt, played to perfection by Angelica Huston, who is imposing and clever, if old-fashioned.
Director Katja von Garnier has brought this story to life with a stellar cast and contemporary style. The film and sound editing are bold. The soundtrack is modern and upbeat. I questioned that decision when I first heard contemporary pop sounds pumping as Alice Paul crossed a street in 1912. But the style grew on me, and I came to appreciate the director's unconventional but oddly effective choices in scoring the film. The cast is great. Hilary Swank hits just the right note as Alice Paul -over and over again. I have never liked Frances O'Conner in anything, but she's perfect as Lucy Burns. It's a joy to hear Anjelica Huston speak as Carrie Chapman Catt, even if she is a stuffy character. Molly Parker gives perhaps the most emotionally affecting performance as Emily Leighton, wife of Senator Thomas Leighton, who supported the suffrage cause against her husband's wishes. Hers is an Oscar-calibre performance. Julia Ormond and Bob Gunton are also notable as suffragette Inez Mulholland and Pres. Woodrow Wilson, respectively. "Iron Jawed Angels" creatively and passionately presents the victory for women's suffrage and the story of those who fought and won it.
The DVD: There is an audio commentary by director Katja von Garnier and screenwriter Sally Robinson. The commentary is very casual and discusses filming and sound editing decisions and recounts a few anecdotes. It's honestly not very informative or interesting. No need to feel you missed anything if you skip it. Subtitles for the film are available in English, Spanish, and French. Dubbing is available in Spanish and French."