hbo's "iron jawed angels" actually worth watching
March 2, 2004 01:13 PM

See this entry's title. It's true. And not just because Frances O'Connor is hot, even as a redhead (although, trust me, she is) with a goofy haircut.

Most of what I know about suffrage, ironically, is the Stanton/Anthony era stuff, post-Civil War. So I'm not clear how accurate the movie is aside from the basics - like, who Alice Paul was and the various factions of the early American women's liberation movement. I wasn't even sure, for instance, if the prissy Congressdude's wife character had some basis in history (she doesn't, at least not exactly - I think her inclusion was nice, though, and gave the story more tie to average Janeness, at least the sort of white upperclass average she represents).

HBO's website does a pretty nice job of contextualizing the movie, too, with summaries and resources and pictures and such. And it's prettily designed (a good example, by the way, of a corporate media site retaining the corporate brand and feel while allowing the content and feel of the individual show/movie/whatever to dominate the user's experience).

So, the movie's worth a look just for the history. It's also very watchable. The general quality of the production is similar to a lot of historical romances; alternately sweeping and intimate. Despite the wedged-in love interest (Patrick Dempsey, whose presence worried me at first), though, the romance of the film is - fortunately - all about the women and the cause. It uses this kinda cliched style to drive home a big old "suffragists rock" message. Er, actually, the "suffragists rock" thing is strangely conveyed in the music, too - it's characterized by a Knight's Tale-esque rock vibe, which more or less works, anachronistic as it is.

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