‘Mrs America’ Review: The Battle Of The Feminist Titans

‘Mrs America’ Review: The Battle Of The Feminist Titans

By Manasi Rawalgaonkar29 May, 2020 3 min read
‘Mrs America’ Review: The Battle Of The Feminist Titans
Incisive and Sharp
80%Overall Score

Mrs America is the true story of the fight for and against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The limited series by creator Dahvi Waller hinges on women’s rights revolutionaries – and formidable counter-revolutionary, Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett).

Phyllis Schlafly is a “goddamn feminist!”

One of the smartest insights that Mrs America provides is that Phyllis Schlafly, in the words of Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale), “is a goddamn feminist. She may be the most liberated woman in America.” And the truth is, she is. She just chooses to not see herself that way. The wife of Illinois lawyer, Fred Schlafly (John Slattery), she’s run for Congress in the past, is openly ambitious, applies to law school despite her husband’s misgivings, is appreciated for her beauty and intelligence and is regal and terrifying, to both her allies and enemies. Schlafly sees managing men as a woman’s lot. At a meeting with male Republican lawmakers, she announces, “Some women like to blame sexism for their failures instead of admitting they didn’t try hard enough.” In response, they ask her to take notes, assuming she has the nicest penmanship. Still, Schlafly doesn’t turn her attention towards the ERA until her friend Alice Macray (Sarah Paulson) worries the amendment will marginalise housewives.  It is at this point that her mental calculus computes that speaking about women’s issues may be the only way to be heard in a male-dominated world. Schlafly soon changes her focus from anti-Communism to anti-feminism. She’s found her cause and a supportive audience. The best thing about Mrs America is that it never sees Schlafly as a heroine, or an anti-hero, for that matter. It respects her canniness, charisma, ambition and force of will. Even the second-wave feminists, who Schlafly and her squad dismissively refer to as “libbers” gradually come to respect her for the threat she poses.

The feminist side of the story

Parallel to Schlafly’s story is the 1970s feminist movement with Abzug, Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), Representative Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks) and others. Initially, Schlafly and her STOP ERA squad are but a barely squawking annoyance to the exuberant group. In fact, there’s a running gag about Friedan, who later engages in a debate with Schlafly, being unable to pronounce her name. The group has far better things to do – such as plotting the quick passage of the amendment by President Richard Nixon. Just as they’re deliberating over their win and how to argue over tactics and priorities, they’re T-boned by Schlafly and how. What follows is an epic decade-long fight.

Bringing about a change in America

The real story isn’t about which side won or not, it’s about how both sides of the battle won, and in their own way, changed America. Schlafly’s emphasis on how their rally had bigger crowds than the “libbers rally” was echoed in Donald Trump’s campaign. And Steinem’s statement, “We select our leaders first by eliminating women, then minorities”, rings true even today.

Packed with powerful performances

In a show packed with knockout performances from an ensemble cast, Rose Byrne and Tracey Ullman stand out. Cate Blanchett is sublime as the anti-feminist Schlafly, who both wins (the ERA died in 1982, three states short of ratification) and loses (President Ronald Reagan doesn’t offer her the expected role in his administration). The only thing she can do is sit down, swallow her despondency and peel apples. But don’t you dare feel sorry for Schlafly. After all, she’s in exactly the place that she’s been claiming women should be happy to inhabit: the kitchen.

The limited series is a political drama packed with dynamite performances and sharp writing, making it an absolute must-watch. Plus it has a phenomenal soundtrack (Walter Murphy’s ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’, Etta James’ ‘Fire’, The Staple Singers’ ‘I’ll Take You There’).

Creator: Dahvi Waller
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Sarah Paulson, Tracey Ullman, Margo Martindale, Elizabeth Banks
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

Tags: #Cate Blanchett #Disney+ Hotstar #Mrs America #Mrs America Recap #Mrs America Review #Rose Byrne #Tracey Ullman
Manasi Rawalgaonkar
Written by

Manasi Rawalgaonkar

I work hard to give my cats a better life.

Trending articles

Exclusive: Vijay Varma Had To Run Away From Home To Be An Actor

Exclusive: Vijay Varma Had To Run Away From Home To Be An Actor

Vijay Varma is sure on a high. The actor has become one of the most sought-after faces in the web series space off late. In the past one year, Varma has given impressive performances in She, Mirzapur 2, A Suitable Boy, and most recently Disney+ Hotstar’s whacky sci-fi comedy series OK Computer.
By Neel Gudka < 1 min read
Mammootty’s Lockdown Blockbuster Is Coming To Amazon Prime Video
Malayalam Movie Article

Mammootty’s Lockdown Blockbuster Is Coming To Amazon Prime Video

Mammootty’s recent outing ‘The Priest‘ is dropping on Amazon Prime Video this Vishu and the audience who couldn’t catch up with it on the big screen are quite excited. The film garnered praise for its performances, making and background music. As you are warming up to watch the film on April 14, here are some of the things to look forward to – 
By Devisree Jayakumari 2 min read
Netflix Is Giving Us The Chaser To ‘Wild Wild Country’ We All Need

Netflix Is Giving Us The Chaser To ‘Wild Wild Country’ We All Need

Netflix dropped the first trailer of Searching for Sheela, their upcoming documentary about Ma Anand Sheela, the controversial former aide to spiritual figure Osho. Their story was previously the subject of the Netflix docuseries Wild Wild Country.
By Akhil Rajani < 1 min read
See more articles
Privacy Note
By using www.bookmyshow.com(our website), you are fully accepting the Privacy Policy available at https://bookmyshow.com/privacy governing your access to Bookmyshow and provision of services by Bookmyshow to you. If you do not accept terms mentioned in the Privacy Policy, you must not share any of your personal information and immediately exit Bookmyshow.
List your Show
Got a show, event, activity or a great experience? Partner with us & get listed on BookMyShow
Contact today!
Copyright 2021 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The content and images used on this site are copyright protected and copyrights vests with the respective owners. The usage of the content and images on this website is intended to promote the works and no endorsement of the artist shall be implied. Unauthorized use is prohibited and punishable by law.