Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
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.)
Rather pedestrian direction leaves Jane Curtin seeming needy and not particularly skilled as a dramatic actress, and Anthony Andrews seeming little more than smug in most scenes. Curtin's wardrobe by Ralph Lauren is nice, the look of the film is nice, but most of all what I love about the film is the melancholy score by Larry Grossman. That alone has kept the film in my mind for nearly 20 years now (I first watched it on PBS's American Playhouse curled up in the San Francisco Bay Area with the fog rolling in and a pot of tea before me -- a magical combination). I wish the score were available on CD, but alas it doesn't appear to be. Perhaps there will be a collection of Larry Grossman's music in the future that features it.