Suffragette

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"I really didn’t want to write this review. I still don’t. Not because Meryl Streep is a lie (she appears for like 15 seconds). Not because the main character never existed in this supposedly historical film (the director calls it a “composite character”). Not because Suffragette is a bad film—it’s not. It’s fine. It’s Oscar bait. Whatever.

I didn’t want to write this review because I’m tired of writing about white people. I’m tired of fantasy worlds where people of color don’t exist. Where even the made up—excuse me—composite characters are white. It gets really disheartening to see yourself written out of popular culture, written out of history time and time again. It’s really hard to keep answering my son’s question: “How come there aren’t any brown people in this?”

When I met with the director of Suffragette, Sarah Gavron, she was quick to address the lack of women of color in the movie. “In America, you had a very different ethnic makeup,” she explained. “In Britain, you had immigrants, but you didn’t really have women of color at that stage—apart from two very prominent women. Later in the movement, you got the diversity that reflects the wonderful diversity we have in Britain today. But you did have a range of classes.”

At first I let this go, but it was nagging at me. This thought in the back of my head that it wasn’t right. As a person of color, I’ve heard time and time again similar excuses for why people of color have not been represented, especially in history. But the truth is, we are not a recent invention.

So I’m not going to write a review about Suffragette, because I’m no longer going to legitimize films that refuse to acknowledge the existence of people of color. And neither should you." -Ijeoma Oluo

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Credits
Director
Sarah Gavron
Cast
Brendan Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter, Carey Mulligan