‘Misbehavior’ is a little too safe and crowd-pleasing, but it reminds us that there are still some things worth standing up for.
Cast & Crew:
Philippa Lowthorpe| Director
Keira Knightley| Actor
Greg Kinnear| Actor
Jessie Buckley| Actor
Ruby Bentall| Actor
Story & Review:
A beauty pageant is disrupted by a group of women in 1970s London.
‘Misbehavior’ is based on the true story of the women’s liberation movement’s protest at the 1970 Miss World pageant in London. The pageant had already been dogged by controversy due to South Africa’s representation by two entrants – one black and one white. The evening was already tainted before the televised competition began, but it reached a boiling point when Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear), the celebrity host, was pelted with flour bombs on stage.
The story revolves around several women, including Keira Knightley as Sally Alexander, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Jennifer Hosten, Jessie Buckley as Jo Robinson, and Lesley Manville as Bob’s wife, Dolores Hope. Sally Alexander is a recently divorced single mother attempting to gain admission to University College London to study history. Sally is perfectly portrayed by Keira Knightley as a woman torn between her personal values and her family. Jessie Buckley, on the other hand, brings a firebrand quality to the rabble-rouser Jo Robinson, who is willing to go to any length to make her voice heard. Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a grounded performance as Jennifer Hosten, an aspiring Miss Grenada who sees the pageant as a springboard for her goals and ambitions. Lesley Manville’s understated portrayal of the long-suffering Dolores Hope has an impact despite her small role.
The overlapping narratives tend to become long drawn as Director Philippa Lowthorpe weaves these multiple storylines around each other. While this ensures that each angle is given adequate weight throughout the film, it causes the middle act to meander. Nonetheless, the climax is gripping, if not a clear call to feminist action. The film makes you appreciate what some courageous women have gone through in order to confront patriarchy. More importantly, it’s clear how far we’ve come toward equal rights for women, as well as how far we still have to go.
‘Misbehaviour,’ despite having such an intriguing title, ends up being a little too safe and crowd-pleasing. Perhaps it doesn’t want to alienate the male gender, which is ironic given the premise. However, the cast elevates the film, giving each character a compelling voice to remind us that some things are still worth fighting for.