In Keira Knightley’s latest film, Misbehaviour, the Oscar-winning actress plays feminist activist Sally Alexander, who joined the Women’s Liberation Movement in protest of Miss World 1970. The Phillipa Lowthorne-directed movie, which involved the real women part of the historical event during its development, has Knightley’s concerned Alexander looking at the effect of the popular women’s pageant on her young daughter.
As Misbehavior highlights, women’s pageants, at the time, heavily objectified their bodies down to every measurement. But at the same time, the Miss World competition also provided its contestants with opportunities to follow their aspirations, thanks to the exposure the competition provided them. Amidst the Women’s Liberation protests, the first Black women were crowned first and second place during the broadcast for Grenada and South Africa. With this, Misbehaviour generates a layered conversation.
When speaking to Keira Knightley during an exclusive interview for CinemaBlend, I asked the actress if she has personally re-examined anything since becoming a mother herself, as the actress has two young daughters with husband James Righton. Check out what she said:
Preach, Keira!! The actress talked about how she’s been questioning just about every fairytale ever since she started raising her kids. She went into specifics, calling out the likes of Snow White and Cinderella for their romantic stories. And she’s completely right. When you really look at their actions, by today’s standards, many of them veer on the inappropriate side. Much like the film shows her portrayal of Sally Alexander questioning her daughter’s idealization of the Miss World women, Knightley has noticed how problematic popular princesses can be.
There is, however, an exception. Keira Knightley said the way Frozen handled these classic storylines was “brilliant.” If you remember the animated franchise, which stars Kristen Bell’s Princess Anna and Idina Menzel’s Queen Elsa, blatantly calls out some of the clichés within the genre, such as Anna wanting to marry Hans the night after meeting him.
Keira Knightley has previously spoken about her decision to “ban” the movies Cinderella and The Little Mermaid from her children to The Ellen Show, despite her love for them amidst her role as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The actress has also, of course, starred in another famous Disney franchise, having played the role of Elizabeth Swan in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which had the actress holding her own alongside the scummy pirate men in the series.
Misbehaviour also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Miss World 1970, Jennifer Hosten, Jessie Buckley as activist Jo Robinson, Greg Kinnear as Bob Hope and Rhys Ifans as Miss World founder Eric Morley. The movie is now available to rent or buy on VOD. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more exclusive interviews.