Iron Jawed Angels

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Average Rating: 4.2/5

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German filmmaker Katja von Garnier directs the HBO original movie Iron Jawed Angels, inspired by a pivotal chapter in American history. Hilary Swank plays Alice Paul, an American feminist who risked her life to fight for women's citizenship and the right to vote. She founded the separatist National Woman's Party and wrote the first equal rights amendment to be presented before Congress. Together with social reformer Lucy Burns (Frances O'Connor), Paul struggled against conservative forces in order to pass the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States. One of their first actions was a parade on President Woodrow Wilson's (Bob Gunton) inauguration day. The suffragettes also encountered opposition from the old guard of the National American Women's Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt (Anjelica Huston). The activists get arrested and go on a well-publicized hunger strike, where their refusal to eat earns them the title of "the iron-jawed angels." Iron Jawed Angels was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 before its television premiere on HBO.


Hilary Swank
as Alice Paul
Anjelica Huston
as Carrie Chapman Catt
Patrick Dempsey
as Ben Weissman
Molly Parker
as Emily Leighton
Joseph Adams
as Sen. Leighton
Laura Fraser
as Doris Stevens
Vera Farmiga
as Ruza Wenclawska
Lois Smith
as Anna Howard Shaw
Brooke Smith
as Mabel Vernon
Margo Martindale
as Harriot Blatch
Kristina Vensko
as Jenny Leighton
Adilah Barnes
as Ida Wells-Barnett
Bob Gunton
as President Woodrow Wilson
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News & Interviews for Iron Jawed Angels

Critic Reviews for Iron Jawed Angels

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

  • It's a reminder that feminism is first of all about human rights.

    Jan 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Iron Jawed Angels is an important history lesson told in a fresh, and blazing fashion.

    Feb 17, 2004
  • Despite the film's anachronistic approach -- fast-tracking camera tricks and a soundtrack pulsating with contemporary musical numbers -- there's a lot to appreciate in Katja von Garnier's classy precursor to the recent (and less effective) "Suffragette."

    Jan 10, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A stunning true story unfortunately tarted up for modern audiences, infused with modern informalities, fictional romances and wildly incongruous post-feminist empowerment pop.

    Sep 7, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Iron Jawed Angels

Interesting, but its style is too muddy.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

Strong, powerful story, it blew me away. I think it's a must see for everyone. I already know the answer to this question but why don't we learn about THIS in history class? I feel like I had no idea the depths of the struggles of the woman's suffrage movement until I saw this movie.

Megan S
Megan S

Super Reviewer

This is a really well-made film about the fight for suffrage in the U.S. with fine acting by a great cast, and nice direction to boot. The soundtrack iis anachronistic, but it works well, so I have no problem with it, even though it adds historical innacuracy. This was an HBO production, and it helps that it was too. I sadly have to admit that this film would have tanked had it been a big budget Hollywood affair. If you can track it down, watch it. This film captures important events that ALL Americans need to see and know about.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Iron Jawed Angels" starts out in 1912, as two suffragists return to America from England - Alice Paul(Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns(Frances O'Connor) - and petition the women's central committee to organize and fundraise in Washington, DC. Even though the older generation is wary of the methods of the English suffragists(which included brick throwing), the committee grants permission. Once in the capital, Alice and Lucy organize a march which seemingly goes badly but also gets the activists lots of sympathetic press and an audience with President Wilson(Bob Gunton).[/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Iron Jawed Angels" serves as a valuable history lesson about the suffrage movement.(It is still timely. And even ninety years later, the Democrats are still useless.) I was surprised to realise how little I knew. The movie is not without its faults, though. The film's flashy style clashes with the period in which it is set.(It is best not to speed things up in a time when movement was remarkably slower.) It gets off to an awkward start but ends strongly.(Considering the large amount of ground to be covered, it might have been best to concentrate on the second half of the story.) And a misbegotten romantic subplot does not help.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]The cast including Anjelica Huston, Julia Ormond, Molly Parker, Brooke Smith and Vera Farmiga is excellent with O'Connor and Parker being standouts.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]I realize how brave the suffragists were especially with the misogyny they faced but...I still have to ask: did they go far enough? This was a time when Mother Jones and Emma Goldman were organizing and agitating even without the right to vote. [/font] Basically, the right to vote should be seen as a step, not the end of a movement.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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