Iron Jawed Angels Reviews
And I now know that August 26th was designated "Women's Equality Day" by congress - Thank you Bella Abzug - but I've yet to see it on a calendar! It was only a step... and the ERA still hasn't passed.
The film begins by introducing two friends, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who both share the same desire to have the right to vote. At the time the right to vote was determined by state so these women wanted the federal decision. They began by meeting with Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw, two representatives from the National American Woman Suffrage Association to explain that all women should have the right to vote but they did not support the idea of including it into the constitution. With the helpless support from these women, Paul and Burns decided to start their own group and begin with a huge event, a parade. They recruited a team of volunteers to begin the movement. Their association ran on their own funds including donations they had gathered while promoting women's suffrage. Paul tries to convince a labor lawyer, Inez Mulholland, to join their group and be apart of the parade they were planning. When doing so, Paul meets a political cartoonist, Ben Weismann, and there is an instant connection. Later, Paul and her team get harassed and riots begin to outbreak so more attention is being focused on this issue. President Woodrow Wilson is then addressed and pushed to consider the problem but quickly ignores it. While searching for more help, Paul demands that Weismann contributes his abilities as a newspaper writer to help with the cause. He agrees only if Paul goes on a date with him and so she does because of her significant motive for a change. Their group, the National Woman's Party, starts their movement across the country. Senator Leighton stops his wife Emily's allowance after figuring out she had made donations to the NWP. Mulholland explains how tired she is and how she doesn't want to join them for the trip but Paul convinces her come. During one of their events, Mulholland passes out and soon dies in the hospital due to high anemia. Paul immediately blames herself for Mulholland's death and wishes to end her fight so she moves back to a farm back home. Burns visits and convinces Paul that their fight is not over yet and she should come back to Washington. When the women return, their next plan is to picket the White House. The President is not bothered by it because it's their right and he thinks they'll eventually quit. The picketers are arrested for "obstructing traffic" and sent to court. They refuse to pay any fines for crimes they didn't commit because they see themselves as political prisoners. The women are locked up for 60 days with no chance of leaving. Paul is sent to jail and demanded to be checked for mental illness but she explains that her courage is being mistaken as insanity and there is no problem. She returns and leads a hunger strike causing the women to start getting force fed raw eggs. The mistreatment of these women are leaked out and more support for the NWP is present. Catt convinces the president to release them. When they are out, the amendment is brought up where 35 states ratify it and just one more is needed. Tennesee changes their mind after receiving a telegram from his mother from anti suffrage to his yellow rose, suffrage. In 1920, the right finally became a law for about 20 million women in America.
This movie was amazing in terms of presenting the reality these women faced. I really enjoyed how the challenges were shown because the whole process wasn't just one protest that changed the law. The actors all had passion in their eyes and a fight in their breath which allowed the audience to realize how important this was and how hard history was fought, through the harsh opposition. When President Wilson kept laughing at the picketers, the push to keep standing up for their beliefs was presented. At times when they wanted to give up, they demonstrated in their actions how if change doesn't happen now, they don't know when it will. When the amendment was passed at the end of the movie, the happiness and pride was presented in calmness and relief.
Any person that supports women's rights would enjoy this movie because extremely valid points are made towards the treatment of women. Now, during the time after the election, gender discrimination is a huge issue that has come up and seeing how hard they fought almost 100 years ago proves that if we stand tall, we won't back down. That no matter how much the president disapproves of women's rights, we will continue to fight to become equal.
-- Raeann Zarou
I will never taking voting for granted ever again!
The prison scenes keep the movie from being a complete waste of time as it revs walks a dark side of the Woodrow Wilson presidency and a dark chapter in American history.