Free screening offered of women’s rights film, “Suffragette.”

Suffragette stars (left to right) Helena Bonham Carter, Carey Mulligan, and Meryl Streep. Poster image courtesy of Focus Features.

By Emily Harrison Weir

British women’s fight for the right to vote is at the center of a new feature film, Suffragette. At 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 1, only, the Mount Holyoke College community is invited to a free, advance screening before the movie opens to the public.

The film will be shown at South Hadley’s Tower Theatres. Admission for this special screening is open only to MHC students, faculty, and staff; an MHC ID is required for entry. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Mount Holyoke Professor of Film Studies Robin Blaetz will give a brief introduction before the film is shown.

The drama, which stars Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, and Carey Mulligan, fictionalizes the early-twentieth-century campaign of the British activists who fought for women’s right to vote. It is directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan.

By 1900, women had been campaigning for the right to vote in British parliamentary elections for more than half a century. In 1903, the Women’s Political and Social Union upped the ante, gathering supporters and escalating the level of activism under the slogan, “Words, not deeds.” Suffragists took their struggle to the streets, where things sometimes got violent. But—as the movie shows—they pressed on, finally winning the vote in 1918. Their victory came two years before women in the United States won the right to vote.

“It was a war that was fought on our behalf and we reap its rewards today. These women went into unknown territory to try and claim what was theirs,” actor Carey Mulligan told Focus Features, the studio releasing the film. Mulligan plays a working woman caught up in the tumult.

Focus Features also is organizing an essay contest in connection with the film.