This dramatization of the controversy surrounding the Miss World 1970 pageant is a very odd beast. On the one hand it wants to be the kind of crowd-pleasing British comedy that seems dime a dozen with Keira Knightley as the outsider joining the plucky and passionate early days of the Women’s Liberation movement. On the other hand, it wants to focus on how the pageant was a representation of the socio-political tension that existed at that time with a particular Focus on the experience of eventual winner Jennifer Hosten/Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
When looking at both of these the socio-political angle is handled much more effectively. The film does a solid job of presenting the issues and topics of the time in a way that is very palatable for a mainstream audience with an excellent central performance from Mbatha-Raw elevate the side of the film. Where the film fallers is is in its depiction of the Women’s Liberation movement which takes a very important story and reduces it down to “outsider meats group of individuals she is in initially hesitant of but comes to respect and participate in over the course of the narrative. “cliché. If the film wasn’t specifically known as being related to the foundation of the Women’s Liberation movement the narrative structure could be used for any group that was around at that time. Greg Kinnear is having fun chewing the scenery with his interpretation of Bob Hope but none of the figures the activists are up against are treated with anything beyond basic antagonists.
Misbehaviour is a very strange beast. It’s trying to marry the foundation of the Women’s Liberation movement the structure of a generic British crowd pleaser well also attempting to pay respect to the importance of Miss World 1970 on a social level. While the social dramatization works better the film as a whole never really overcomes the tonal clash between these two very distinct styles. That said the social angle is well enough handled to make the film worthy of a qualified recommendation. If the film had learned more into this angle it may have resulted in a significantly better final product.