March 02, 2004

Iron Jawed Angels

Suffering for suffrage is the basic theme of this film, an HBO production. Iron Jawed Angels was a hell of a history lesson for me. I had no idea what the women of Woodrow Wilson's time went through, just to get the privilege of picking which liar and/or thief would represent them in government.

Hilary Swank is my favorite actress on the scene right now, based on just this film and Boys Don't Cry, for which she got an Oscar a few years ago. She really is brilliant, and obviously isn't in it just for the glitz and the glamour.

The rest of the women in this historical dramatization, including Angelica Huston and Frances O'Connor, do an excellent job as well. From what I remember from the credits, I don't think there were too many men involved in this production, and that is how it should be. Women should tell this incredible story.

These women were spit on, harrassed, beaten, illegally jailed, force fed when they tried to go on a hunger strike, and some died in the quest for social equality. The film shows that no one gets freedom and justice handed to them on a silver platter. You don't experience those things unless you fight for and earn them.

Too, this film helped to show me that unity, regarding any group effort, is highly overrated. There was much infighting and conflict within the women's suffrage movement, but since they were all focused on the same prize, ultimately they won out. And it took a small miracle (if there is such a thing) at the end to put them over the top on the vote to ratify the 19th Amendment.

The movie might remind you of some debates going on currently, because these women were told by some that they needed to leave it up to the individual states to give women the vote. But, they didn't buy that. They fought and fought and struggled and fought some more to get that Constitutional Amendment, and once passed it settled the issue for everybody.

See this film if you haven't already. It will show on HBO a few more times this month.

Posted by Wayne at March 2, 2004 12:26 AM
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