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An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.

In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.

He begs his best friend, Proteus, to come with him, but Proteus is in love with Julia, and refuses to leave.

We learn indirectly that her male employer has abused her at work since she was a child and is now doing so to another pre-teen girl at the factory.

The acting is good by most of the leads, Mulligan in particular.

Quite why they rolled out the barrel to find a place in the cast for Meryl Streep to deliver a brief but showy cameo as the cause's figurehead Emmeline Pankhurst, I don't know.

These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing.

Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality - their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.

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