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|Index||108 reviews in total|
Even with the Hollywood spin, this movie depicts the true essence of the struggle for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. What surprised me the most was how little I knew about the courageous devotion of these women and why our history books make little or no mention of their extraordinary struggle for us, for so many years. I loved this movie! Every cast member gave an outstanding performance, especially Hillary Swank (Alice Paul) and Frances O'Connor (Lucy Burns). Ms.O'Connor was enthralling! Every woman of voting age should see this movie about our unsung heroines. Then, older teenage daughters(& sons) nieces(& nephews),view it with supervision of some scenes. I wasn't initially drawn to this movie because of the title. I thought it was about WWII fighting airplanes. I'm so glad I tuned in for one of the best enlightening films of the decade. Bravo for HBO!
There may be history somewhere in this made for TV movie, but many of
the facts that you can independently verify are false or misleading. It
appears more to be just a story of how someone wishes to remember the
struggle for women's suffrage.
It is particularly inaccurate with it's drumbeat against the Republicans of the time. The 19th amendment passed against fierce Democratic opposition. The vote in the House where the Republicans controlled 240 vs 192 was 304 for, 89 against. The vote in the Senate was 56(R-36, D-20) for, 25 against (R-8, D-17).
The states that ratified the amendment were virtually all Republican. Almost no Democratic states ratified it.
One of the reasons that Teddy Roosevelt was defeated by Wilson was that TR and his party had adopted Women's Suffrage as a plank. It is also why Republicans steadily took seats in both houses during the battle.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I ordered the DVD because of Julia Ormond's role. She only appeared in
about 5 minutes of the film. I was disappointed her appearance was so
brief. She seems to become more lovely, the older she gets.
I must say that Hillary Swank delivered a very strong performance. She was well cast for this role. You could tell that women predominated in writing the film and a woman directed it as well.
I did not feel that the unsuccessful romance depicted here was a distraction. The Ben Weissman character was really getting to the lead character, Alice Paul. You could see her political will was starting to buckle under the force of her attraction to Ben and his motherless son. It was perhaps a little too graphic how Alice relieved her sexual tension in the bathtub. At any rate, Alice subdued her softer side under her iron will. Her own needs would always take second place to her political cause.
The scene where the psychiatrist was interviewing Alice in prison was perhaps the most powerful scene in the film. Here was a woman greatly weakened by starvation forced to contend with a powerful mind sent to undermine her efforts by declaring her insane. Every word was taken down to find a pretext to belittle her moral claim to suffrage. She was able to summon the words that compelled this man to reject the powerful inducements to destroy her. Hillary Swank delivered an enormously powerful performance here. She actually appeared near death in these scenes.
Reading some of the other comments here made me realize how distorted feminist doctrine has made history. Of course women are entitled to vote. What has been lost is the understanding of the progression of understanding in Western Civilization that has brought us to our present position.
In the beginning, might ruled everything. All privilege was obtained by being the most powerful man or being useful enough to him to be accorded certain limited considerations. Judaism and even more emphatically Christianity changed all that. The Golden Rule proclaimed that our neighbor was deserving of our regard. Women were accorded a place of respect and honor in Christian doctrine. This was truly revolutionary in historical terms.
The history of Western Civilization is the account of the continued expansion of the rights of man, or to be P.C., humanity. First the nobles in England forced the king to acknowledge their rights by signing the Magna Carta. Then the cities forced the king to recognize their rights under law. Then the merchant class gradually gained rights because they were needed to finance the king's armies and lifestyle. Then rights gradually extended to property owners, especially in the U.S. Blacks in the U.S. gained rights gradually as slavery was abolished first in the North and, after the Civil War, in the South. Women were not excluded from this process. The rights of women continually expanded over these centuries.
The basic point here is that, for the most point, rights were not gained by force. Moral arguments and peaceful protest that appealed to the Christian Conscience gained the day. Many of the women in this film were college graduates. This education gave them the understanding of the possibilities and potentials that their advancement could offer. These women were enormously privileged by the standards of the day.
The tide turned when details of the horrible injustices inflicted on these women inflamed the public opinion to the point where Sufferage became politically necessary. The same process was at work 60 years later when the same means gained Blacks better access to civil rights.
Time constraints greatly compressed this important work. It would have been better served by a mini-series that could have explored the topic in greater depth. Still, kudos to HBO for being willing to tackle this difficult subject. Perhaps a more appealing title could have enhanced the success of this film.
I've been studying the fight for women's voting rights in U.S. History
class and the real story is much more interesting than what's portrayed
here. For the sake of creating tension in Alice Paul's story the
Angelica Houston character (Carrie Chapman Catt) is vilified and
reduced from shades of gray to black and white, and President Woodrow
Wilson (who is so responsible for so many good things in our lives
today) is portrayed as a one-note cardboard character and anti-women.
It's true that the force-feeding of Alice Paul and her friends and
their tactics got press and forced Wilson to act at that particular
time, but the tide was progressing anyway -- in large part due to the
efforts of Carrie Chapman Catt (vilified here) and Susan B. Anthony and
their contemporaries, long before Alice Paul came on the scene.
Carrie Chapman Catt and Woodrow Wilson were not the villains at all in reality, and yet here they're portrayed as such. That's absolutely criminal in my mind, and at the very least highly irresponsible.
The film also has a VERY annoying soundtrack -- faux Madonna-like -- and nonsense image manipulation to comtemporize the story (in ten years this will seem absolutely amateurish). If the director trusted her own work and the truth of what was being portrayed she wouldn't have felt she needed to "jazz it up" by resorting to these tactics.
This music is totally out of context, jarring, and fails to capture or support the mood of the era the film is set in. Besides that the director uses WAY too many film class 101 "oh wouldn't this be neat" techniques (like the shots of one tray after another in rapid succession to show Alice Paul isn't eating in jail). This is absolutely amateurish and annoying.
The love story was also glommed on to this without regard for the facts. I asked my much-admired history teacher today what she thought of the film and she wasn't a fan either. This was like watching children play acting with a script very dumbed down for the masses. There was no depth to the characterizations, no shades of gray, no powerful silences, no subtext -- nothing.
The period is fascinating and the cause of women's rights deserves to be told in a vehicle far better than this, but again my point is it is absolutely wrong to vilify good people.
The period is fascinating and the cause of women's rights deserves to be told in a vehicle far better than this -- one that doesn't twist the facts to the degree this piece of garbage does. (If you don't believe me go pick up a history book and read.)
I've noticed that of the many things people have to say about this
U-bend-encircling monster, all of them heavily critique the film's
soundtrack. Ordinarily, I would consider something like that invalid to
the film's quality, but not this time. This time, it was the extra step
that transformed it from just another mediocre TV movie to a
mind-numbing piece of junk food for the MTV generation's soul.
From what I can understand, "Iron Jawed Angels" is about as historically accurate as "Godspell." It adds fictional characters (wherever they may fall and however intrusively) to an inspiring true story about a true believer, Alice Paul, who is reduced to a "Sex and the City" reject obsessed with men, hats, and, when necessary, the woman suffrage movement. It changes necessary distinctions into pure good and evil-- Alice Paul, a young, hip, sexy feminist, matches wits with Carrie Catt (Anjelica Huston), whose tangible contributions to the suffrage movement are tossed aside here because they needed a bad guy.
Why didn't they just bring in Darth Vader?
While the roles in this movie are not supposed to reinforce stereotypes, that's about all they do. There's a difference between "real woman" and "fictional, Lifetime Original Movie man-chasers wishing to be taken seriously." These characters cross that line, reducing their heroic real-life counterparts to babbling bimbos. And the only character who doesn't fit in his sex's stereotype is played by a useless Patrick Dempsey.
Finally, we come to the two most heinous aspects of this TV movie (and I emphasize the phrase "TV movie"). First is the soundtrack. It's clear that they were trying to mimic (among other things) the style of the movie "Reds" in everything else. But to keep *its* soundtrack interesting, "Reds" used a selection of rags, traditional music from the time period, and genuine-feeling original compositions by Stephen Sondheim and Dave Grusin. But in "IJA," I was ever vigilant for the inevitable moment when Aretha Franklin's "Respect" would come blaring against a parade montage (don't get me wrong, "Respect" is a great song, but....) The soundtrack is included in the most harrowing part of the film: a scene in which Hillary Swank's Alice Paul is almost certainly masturbating in a bathtub, intercut with a scene of her and Dempsey dancing. The movie then lost all credibility. However, out of the goodness of my heart and my genuine sympathy for the issue at hand, I give it two instead of the one star it deserves. Well... maybe it doesn't even deserve that much. You should be the judge of that, but the filmmakers obviously don't think you're intelligent enough to make that call.
I think it's hard for most to remember that women have had the right to vote for less then 100 years. If nothing else this movie may help to renew interest in an issue that most like to conveniently forget. Hillary Swank and Frances O' Connor give wonderful performances as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. And Anjelica Huston is subtle and formidable as Carrie Chapman Catt. And I loved that Inez Millholland was included-she was an important part of the movement and Julia Ormond is fabulous. This movie is beautifully shot and masterfully edited. It also has a modern soundtrack with great remixs by Sarah McLachlan, Mandalay and Lauren Hill. One criticism though-they didn't do a very good job of showing a true representation of the time and effort it took to achieve the 20th amendment. They made it seem like a few women staged a hunger strike and BAM...votes. So many women gave their health, lives and blood for the movement...they deserve more. There are ways to show time progression, they didn't choose to. More time was given over to the relationship between the suffragettes but it is very well done.
The story of the women's suffrage movement in America during the period
1920 moves along crisply, and the acting is of high caliber. This is not
grandmother's civil rights history; it is contemporary, relevant and
funny. These are powerful, intelligent women who launch a quixotic
to win voting rights against the opposition of most men, including President
Wilson, and not a few women. Set against a historical background that includes Prohibition and the outbreak of World War I, the film doesn't shy away from
tough subjects -- the human rights abuses committed against the movement's
leaders are depicted graphically and would not be suitable for young viewers. The 2000 Presidential election was a wake-up call about the need to exercise
our constitutional rights. This film reminds us never to take those rights for granted.
Despite its historical significance, Iron Jawed Angels misses the mark
with its cheesy music, tedious romance plot and by-the-book acting.
Some of the dramatic sequences--such as the egg yolk scene--make this
film worthwhile, but many of the scenes lack the life and vigor that
more experienced actors would easily provide. Huston gives by far the
best performance, followed by Martindale. Swank was decent for the role
of Alice Paul, but in my opinion was miscast. The romance between Paul
and a young man is dull and predictable. Likewise, the opening of the
film is hideously boring, as Paul and her friend playfully joke about
the most frivolous subjects. Probably the worst aspect of this movie
was the music, which resembled today's pop music beats and did not fit
the time period at all, thus detracting from the authenticity of the
film's sets. Although it has moments of good acting and
thought-provoking dialogue, Iron Jawed Angels is weakly-constructed in
many ways and probably not worth your time.
The Woman Suffrage movement and its triumph in 1920 after a 70-year battle
begun (in the US) by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony is a great
story, full of ups and downs and heroines (and heroes) as well as obdurate
villains. This movie had the finest of raw material to work with and it
blows it by a distracting soundtrack and anachronistic dialogue, as well as
too many MTV editing moments.
Obviously, the filmmakers made a deliberate decision to tell this story using a modern style of music and I assume that their repeated use of modern-style dialogue (full of language and usage that date to a much later period) was equally deliberate. So too, I have no doubt, was the use of costumes that in many cases were a modern take on early 20th century styles, much more revealing and sharply cut than anything of that period. Perhaps the intention was to make the film more accessible to younger viewers. But it just doesn't work.
Think of a great movie like Richard III, a retelling of the Shakespeare play set not in late 15th Cenury England but in the 1930s during the rise of Nazism. The film embraced the anachronism and used it to telling effect. Iron Jawed Angels, by contrast, is littered with false moments and sounds that distract rather than reinforce the story. The widowed father feeding his baby; the repeated shots of women smoking to underscore their independence; the Sex and the City-lite relationships of the leading women; and on and on. What a shame. The film made me long for a more emotionally truthful story and it did send me running to websites and encyclopedia to read the unvarnished history. But the 2 hours on the box were just awful.
Excellent movie with a few flaws ( music from a different time period, romance that wasn't necessary to the plot). It shows how the fight for the right for women to vote in the USA was a very tough one. People like to talk about "God given rights" but often rights have to won in a "war" by people that are willing to put everything on the line. These brave souls make life better for everybody. It seems obvious that women should have the same right to vote as men, but in the times represented by this film it was only obvious to a few. Hillary Swank and the others in the cast showed the gritty determination that it took to fight for voting rights. Rights aren't given to us. Let's not forget that!
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