A Story of Empowerment
By Nirupa Mohan Dore
Ceylon Today Features
Keira Knightley takes centre stage as the lead, in this one-of-a-kind drama film, Misbehaviour. Based on a remarkable true story, the bold movie released with the tagline “Miss world 1970: The launch of a revolution,” as it walks viewers through what happened at a beauty competition and how the Women’s Liberation Movement suddenly gained worldwide popularity.
The film also stars Jessie Buckley as Jo Ann Robinson,Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Jennifer Hosten, Keeley Hawes as Julia Morley,Rhys Ifans as Eric Morley, Greg Kinner as the popular Bob Hope, Lesley Manville as Dolores Hope, Loreece Harrison as Pearl Jansen, John Heffernan as Gareth Stedman Jones, and Emma Corrin as Jillian Jessup, among others, alongside Knightley, who plays the role of Sally Alexander. Each member of the cast manages to deliver exactly what the story needed, while Knightley’s lead performance made the film one that stands out.
Set in 1970, the plot follows Sally, who is an ambitious young woman, both book smart and is bold. At a time when the Miss World Competition was to be held in London, with non-other than the popular comedian Bob Hope, as the host, a group of young women felt that the competition demeaned women and objectified them, which made them want to stand up for women. The rest became history, as the Women’s Liberation Movement, which was newly formed, planned an invasion of the beauty pageant that made their movement and views heard, which made them popular overnight. The story manages to share the inner stories about how everything came to be, and who they are as individuals at a time when women’s movements needed a voice.
This is a story that focuses on several layers and manages to cover the broader story, in terms of diversity, backgrounds, gender inequality, but delivers it in a sensitive way, that shows its audience that somethings deserve proper attention. Though at times it feels like a very feminist film, it still covers a very well-rounded story, as the beauty competition, aims to introduce a lot of firsts, to bring the competition forward in a multicultural landscape.
This is an engaging story that focuses on the women that stood up for what they believed in, regardless of the consequences, as it portrays the women as people with individual flaws that make them relatable.
The 106-minute British comedy-drama by director Philippa Lowthorpe, was made together with producers Sarah-Jane Wheale and Susanne Mackie, working in collaboration with production companies BBC Films, British Film Institute, Pathe, Ingenious Media, and Left Bank Pictures.
The film managed to earn US$1.2 million at the worldwide box-office, after its theatrical release was delayed due to the pandemic but was then released on DVD and video on demand in several countries. Misbehaviour received mostly favourable critic, backed by positive to moderate ratings, with 85 per cent featured on Rotten Tomatoes, 62 per cent on Metacritic and 6.2/10 on IMDb.
The crowd-pleasing story of women’s empowerment is driven and is easily entertaining. This is a film that many who enjoy an empowering feminist focused film, that tells a true story, will appreciate, while others might find it to be a bit too detailed to enjoy.