Knightley, who welcomed daughters Edie in 2015 and Delilah in 2019, has gained attention in recent years for her candid essays on motherhood and feminism, blasting the impossible standards placed on women as well as the double standards faced by working mums.
One particular piece of writing, 'The Weaker Sex', which appeared in the book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies), the actor detailed her own post-birth experience and drew comparisons to Kate Middleton and her "perfect” appearance just hours after giving birth. "Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don’t show your battleground," it read.
But while Misbehaviour may not directly tackle the still complicated relationship society has with motherhood, it is a powerful look to wider issues of feminism that still exist today. Particularly, the film's ability to highlight the radical difference between the privileged white protestors and the women of colour competing in the pageant, who see it as a means of gaining representation.
“It doesn’t judge,” Knightley says of the film. “It doesn’t tell you what to think. It’s dealing with feminism, and intersectional privilege and racism. It felt very current, and yet it was 50 years ago.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw was also attracted to the film's "intersectional" exploration of the Miss World Competition, referring to a powerful line her character says to Knightley's during the film: "If I could, I'd wish to have your opportunities in life."
"Meaning, to be able to rebel the way you're rebelling, to throw flour bombs—for me, that's a luxury because I'm fighting my fight, and my fight is to be seen," Mbatha-Raw told W Magazine ahead of the film's release. "To legitimately be a winner of this competition, to be seen, to be represented. You can't underestimate the power in that."
Watch the Misbehaviour trailer below:
Misbehaviour premieres in Australian Cinemas from November 26.