Women in film was a hot topic in 2015, both behind and in front of the camera, and there’s no doubt that gender disparity remains a huge problem for the industry. This year has, however, seen a number of filmmakers create strong, memorable and diverse female characters, and I wrote the following piece in celebration of the best of them for the British Independent Film Awards ceremony brochure.
It is a universally held view, fuelled by stiff photographs and stilted archive footage, that early 20th century women were dour, passive and unable to crack so much as a smile through those stiff upper lips. The perception of suffragettes is generally no different, a group who campaigned for their right to vote through respectful discourse and peaceful protest.
The King’s Speech has an awful lot to live up to as it makes its home entertainment debut. Not only did it win a clutch of awards, including four Oscars, but it’s been proclaimed as the saviour of modern British cinema by commentators from every corner of the industry. It’s rare for a film to satisfy that amount of hype, and often those who have waited to catch a must-see movie in the comfort of their own home are left wondering what all the fuss is about. Not so here; this film is a genuine delight.