A Journal of the Coronavirus Year
April 4, 2021
A FILM BY PHILIPPA LOWTHORPE
As I look over the list of Oscar nominations, I don’t see any for Misbehaviour the exhilarating film by director Philippa Lowthorpe, written by Gaby Chiappe and Rebecca Frayn, and starring Keira Knightley and Lesley Manville. It portrays the 1970 storming of the Miss World pageant by women’s liberation activists. The only reason I can think of for this Oscar oversight is that presenter Bob Hope, played by Greg Kinnear, is ridiculed to a wonderful extent. Thank you, Lesley Manville, for being so magnificent as Dolores Hope.
For me, Misbehaviour is the second best film of 2020, after Francis Lee’s Ammonite. Both deal with women’s issues and the struggle for equality in academia, in the work place, in science, and in the home setting.
Misbehaviour does a good job of balancing the prejudice faced by women from South Africa and Grenada, who want the concept of beauty to include black women, and the general notion that people should not be competing against one another based on appearance.
MIsbehaviour is also a funny film. There are few better movie scenes than the sight of feminists storming the Miss World stage with stink bombs, ink pistols, and bags of flour, all set to the music of Verdi. The thought that this incident was broadcast on international television is really heartening. I was standing! I was cheering!
Thank goodness women such as Lowthorpe are being allowed to make films. The struggle has been real. The fact that Misbehaviour is not represented at the Oscars is a sign that the patriarchy is still there, still fighting us. I could not watch Mank for more than 15 minutes, it was so misogynist.
I am thankful that Marco watched Misbehaviour with me as I streamed it for the second time. He joins me in fighting for equality.