Reel Corner - August 2020

Celebrating the 19th Amendment in Film

August 2020 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine
Women’s Equality Day & Women’s Right To Vote

Can you imagine living in a time when your voice, your opinion,
your ability to vote your choice was not recognized? Was not allowed.
Well ladies, that’s the way it was until August 26, 1920, just 100 years ago.

After seven decades of a civil rights movement to allow women to vote,
the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.

In honor of the fearless, brave, courageous and patient women who helped make it happen, I dedicate the Reel Corner column this month with the following films. These are films of resistance, empowerment and justice.

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This stirring film shows the painful struggle of British women as they fight to get the right to vote two years before American women. Many activists were fired from their jobs, learned jujitsu to protect themselves and were even thrown in jail and force-fed through their nose if they went on hunger strikes. The movie stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, with Meryl Streep as real-life civil rights leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

Iron Jawed Angels

With modern music and dazzling cinematography, this film stars Hilary Swank in a stunning performance as Alice Paul, the real-life suffragists and women’s rights activist who was one of the main leaders in pushing for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that would allow American women to vote. Frances O’Connor, Margo Martindale, Vera Farmiga and Anjelica Huston also star.

The Divine Order

This powerful film tells the story of a Swiss housewife and mother in a time of social upheaval in 1970. Yes, as shocking as it sounds, Swiss women didn’t get the right to vote until 1971. This film is clever, funny and a great look into the shifting power dynamics between men and women that took place in the 1970s.

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Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns created this film in 1999 using stunning black-and-white archival footage that shows both the excitement and the challenges civil rights activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony faced 170 years ago. Actors Ann Dowd, Sally Kellerman, Julie Harris and Amy Madigan provide commentary.

Mary Poppins

With such great songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cheree,” you may have forgotten that Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns) was a suffragette and sang the rip-roaring song, “Sister Suffragette” with infectious enthusiasm. What a gem!


Even though black men and women had the constitutional right to vote well before 1965, they were being denied access to the voting polls at every turn. This film shows the protest marches from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.  played by David Oyelowo. This movie is a true inspiration.

Most of the films can be streamed online!


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Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts­—especially films—she travels to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters—Coligny, Park Plaza and Northridge theaters. To support her habit of frequent movie going Donne is a retired executive recruiter and staff development consultant. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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