Saturday, October 11, 2008


Yes, it's that time of year again, when we're hit with a barrage of political ads, articles, conventions, and debates. It will be over soon, and life (TV and newspaper) will get back to normal. But when it's all done, how many of us will be able to say that we exercised our right to vote?

Thursday night, I tuned into HBO to watch one of their very excellent HBO Movies. This particular one had an impact that was expected but hard to describe.

Iron Jawed Angels is a movie about the struggle over the right of women to vote, known as women's suffrage. The majority of us take that right for granted, because all but a few of us have always had it and don't remember how women fought for it for years. The movie takes place in the early 1900's, deftly explaining the history of women's suffrage which began with the National Women's Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1869, as it moves on to the height of the battle. Hillary Swank does a superb job portraying activist Alice Paul. Frances O'Conner is Lucy Burns, her gung-ho best friend. Add Angelica Huston as Carrie Chapman Catt, Molly Parker as Emily Leighton (wife of Sen. Thomas Leighton), and Julia Ormond as Inez Millholand, and the acting is superb. Oh, and for the Grey's Anatomy fans, McDreamy (Patrick Dempsy) also has a role as Ben Weissman, a Washington Post illustrator who falls for Alice.

The story is fascinating throughout, but it's toward the end when we really see how passionate these women were to have their right to vote. As many as 214 were jailed in a workhouse for picketing the White House and President Woodrow Wilson. The charge? Impeding the flow of traffic, the only thing they could find to charge them with.

Here's HBO's blurb about the movie.
They had no vote, no political clout and no equal rights. But what they lacked under the law, they made up for with brains, determination and courage. Oscar(R)-winner Hilary Swank (1999's Boys Dont Cry) stars in this inspirational true story of two defiant and brilliant young women who dared to make a stand for women's rights--and wound up shaping the future of America. Oscar(R)-winner Anjelica Huston (1985's Prizzis Honor), Frances O'Connor, Molly Parker, Julia Ormond and Patrick Dempsey co-star in this stellar production that boasts the daring directorial style of Katja von Garnier (Bandits) and a pulsating modern music score from artists including Lauryn Hill, Vertical Horizon and Sarah McLachlan.

If you have HBO, don't miss this movie! You can find the schedule for it at And if you don't have HBO but would like to see it, you may be able to rent it or it can be purchased at Amazon.

And don't forget to vote on November 4th!!

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