We round up the reviews for this new comedy based on the true story of what happened at the 1970 Miss World Pageant.
The Guardian: **** “Misbehaviour is not a #MeToo film as such, or only indirectly – it does not allude to the kind of abuse that has been rife in beauty pageants, and the film shows the contestants in 1970 were primly assigned “chaperones” which, however ridiculous, might at least have militated against abuse. What it does show is the pioneering protest that was a cornerstone of the women’s liberation project and which was to help make #MeToo possible.”
Variety: “Still, “Misbehaviour” does point up the difficulties of being a formula film about fighting the power: Effervescent and eager to please, even when handling tricky intersectional politics of gender, race and class, the film could stand to act out just a little bit more.”
The Times: ** ““Based on a true story.” Ugh. This has increasingly become a warning that you’re about to immerse yourself in crushing mediocrity. The Current War, Seberg, The Aeronauts, Richard Jewell, Mr Jones and Dark Waters? Based on a true story. It means that movie-making and real life have met each other awkwardly, somewhere in the middle, with a warm wet handshake. The smart films know this.”
Empire: *** “too much time is spent spelling out what an audience could readily piece together for themselves, and when it’s at the expense of telling the stories of the less fortunate women involved — women who endured daily battles to try and make a better life for themselves — you have to wonder if Misbehaviour, in spite of its good intentions, is in fact part of the problem.”
The Independent: *** “The victories of Misbehaviour undoubtedly deserve celebration, but the film’s failures are also a timely reminder that feminist filmmaking can only be effective when it’s truly intersectional.”
Hollywood Reporter: “Is it too soon to say that Misbehaviour is the Elizabeth Warren of recent feminist-themed, history-inspired British comedies? That is to say, it’s quite lovable, funny and smart, maybe the best option in a disappointing field (see Made in Dagenham or Suffragette for comparison).”
The Telegraph: *** “Misbehaviour gives us ringside seats at the 1970 Miss World beauty pageant – otherwise known as the one with the flour-flinging, a bomb under a BBC van, and the first winner of colour taking the crown. What a heady mess this event was. Preceded by weeks of feminist protest, it was also subject to unusually intense media scrutiny about the pair of South African contestants – one white, one black – who were flown to London in an awkward bid to keep both sides happy in the era of apartheid.”
The Upcoming: ** “But on International Women’s Day, the day of its release, Misbehaviour might ultimately prove a force for unity between feminists and sexists. It is guaranteed to irritate, no matter your creed.”
Time Out: **** “But ‘Misbehaviour’ is best at showing the limitations, as much as the successes, of second-wave feminism. There’s a parallel narrative about Miss Grenada/Jennifer Hosten (a poised Gugu Mbatha-Raw) vying for victory with Pearl Jansen (Loreece Harrison), the black contestant from apartheid South Africa. Compared to these women, Sally’s issues almost feel like small beans. This is a film about how far we’ve come – and how far we still have to go.”
Misbehaviour is released in cinemas on the 13th March.