Back in 1970, a group of women belonging to the Women’s Liberation Movement tried to disrupt the live coverage of the Miss World competition that took place in London. The reason? They believed that the competition objectified women and promoted sexism on mainstream television. Of course, at the time, their views were considered controversial and even hysterical. But these women did not back down and took their fight all the way to the main event, raising slogans and protesting against the show on live television. Some of them even faced charges but they managed to make their voices heard and subsequently become legends of their time. We get to see the story of these brave women in Philippa Lowthorpe‘s ‘Misbehaviour‘, while also getting a look into the Miss World competition of 1970, when a woman of colour first grabbed the coveted crown, challenging the traditional “white” standards of beauty.
Providing an unbiased 360-degree perspective
‘Misbehaviour’ might be a feminist movie, but it goes much deeper than that. It’s not only addressing the tip-of-the-iceberg white feminism but also questions the predominantly white standards of beauty while addressing the choices of all kinds of women. One of the final scenes between Keira Knightley‘s Sally Alexander who is being taken into custody for inciting protests at the Miss World competition and Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s Jennifer Hosten who has just become the first colored woman to become Miss World is definitely outstanding. The conversation between the two women who have different views is raw and portrays female camaraderie like never before. Even the chemistry between Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley whose Jo Robinson has a more radical political ideology than Sally if off the charts.
Made by women, about women, but not just for women
Throughout the film, we see many instances of casual sexism, mostly faced by Sally Alexander. From the double standards of the interview questions she is asked to having her opinions being ignored by her male peers, Sally’s experiences are neither new nor surprising for any woman. But it does offer a moment of introspection to the men watching this film, making them ponder on how often they repeat this behavior. On the other hand, there are the men judging the women in the Miss World competition, passing remarks on the women’s “looks”, with no regards to their own unprepossessing selves. This movie may have been made for women, but it definitely deserves a watch by the men among us.
Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jessie Buckley shine
While each woman in this film has much to offer, if a top three have to be picked, it’s got to be Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jessie Buckley. Each of their characters come from different backgrounds and have diverse political ideologies. Neither of them is right or wrong but simply portray the different shades of women. The scenes between Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley are nothing sort of brilliant while Gugu Mbatha-Raw shines individually.
WATCH OR NOT:
As a woman, it’s a crime to miss the feminist movie of the year. But more importantly, ‘Misbehaviour’ deserves a watch with your male partners, friends, colleagues or peers. It definitely opens up room for conversation while portraying one of the defining moments in the history of the fight for women’s rights. If nothing else, gather your girlfriends and enjoy the sisterhood of ‘Misbehaviour’. You will not be disappointed!