Some movies are to entertain, some to shock, and some to teach. This one teaches. It’s an HBO movie with an admittedly powerful title that makes you want to watch it. I knew that it wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution gave women in America the right to vote. I did not know what a tough fight it was to get that to happen.
We have many rights and privileges today, and we take them for granted. We don’t think about the fact that we are standing on the shoulders of giants and on the graves of millions of dead.
We can have an African-American president today because of the 500,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War, because of the crusades of Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. Women can vote today, in part because of the years of work, sacrifices and dedication of women like Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who between the years of 1912 and 1920 fought endless battles against the establishment to force the United States into adopting the 19th Amendment.
This movie tells their story, and it tells it well. I learned much, and I am grateful for the insight. As always when I learn more about history, I am amazed how little I actually know, and how much there is yet to learn.
The movie is a little HBO-ey here and there. There are melodramatic passages where the camera work is goofy and the music accentuates personal experiences of the protagonists. It could have done without those passages, but perhaps the movie would have been too boring or sterile that way.
But the learning overshadowed the movie-ness of the Iron Jawed Angels and I recommend you watch it. You will be richer from the experience.