1/07/2007

Iron Jawed Angels

Director: Katja von Garnier
(2004)

The eight year struggle for American women’s right to vote is chronicled by German filmmaker Katja von Garnier in this vibrant made-for-HBO movie that gets pulses pounding with its lively hyper cutting and usage of modern music by artists such as Lauryn Hill. It feels very current not only in style but in dialogue and performance, most notably by Hilary Swank as suffragette leader Alice Paul, who along with Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor) set out to change the constitution despite violence, intimidation, and divisive political backstabbing among suffragettes, Americans facing World War I and President Woodrow Wilson. The film has a proud chick flick quality about it, which will keep women on the edge of their seats and men entertained by the editing and urgency. It’s hard to witness in 2006 without wondering if women would still band together and undergo hunger strikes, wrongful imprisonments, solitary confinement, forced feedings, and beatings. Viewed in this day and age after guaranteeing our own right to vote, fighting for African American civil rights, the film calls up the realization of discrimination against gays who wish to marry and makes one acutely aware that all in this land are not free.