Made in Dagenham (2010)

15
1h 53m
Director: Nigel Cole
Writer: William Ivory
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Andrea Riseborough

Made in Dagenham is a captivating film based on true events which took place in 1968 at the Ford motor plant in Dagenham, England. It follows the story of a group of women working in the factory, who fight for equal pay and rights eventually led to a major breakthrough for women’s rights across Britain.

The film begins with Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) and her co-workers being informed that their jobs have been downgraded from skilled to unskilled status despite having done the same work as their male colleagues. This decision leads to them going on strike, and eventually forming an unlikely alliance with union leader Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins). Together, they battle against sexism and inequality, determined to make an impact on British law and society.

The story is remarkable for its inspiring characters, its historical context and its timely reminder of struggles faced by working-class women of the time. At its heart is Rita’s struggle to find her voice amidst the male dominated atmosphere, while also balancing her home life. Her character arc is beautifully told through Sally Hawkins’ performance, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The supporting cast are equally excellent; Miranda Richardson as Barbara Castle stands out particularly as she attempts to navigate political bureaucracy while trying to protect the workers’ rights.

The film succeeds by accurately capturing both the atmosphere of the 1960s workplace and wider society during this incredible period in British history. Set against a backdrop of changing social conventions around gender roles and equality, Made in Dagenham reminds us how much progress has been made since then as well as how far we still have yet to go when it comes to issues such as race and class discrimination.

It also offers a valuable perspective on collective action; how small acts can come together to create large-scale change if people are willing to take risks and stand up for what they believe in. This message is embodied perfectly by our female protagonists who refuse to be intimidated or silenced by those who attempt to keep them down.

Overall, Made in Dagenham is an inspiring film full of emotion that captures perfectly an important moment in history when ordinary citizens stood up against injustice. It will leave you feeling uplifted yet also mindful of ongoing struggles faced by marginalized communities today; proving that even small acts can have significant consequences over time if we choose courage over fear.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

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