Made in Dagenham

Directed by Nigel Cole and starring Sally Hawkins, film Made in Dagenham is almost a social documentary that is at the same time entertaining and informative.

Set in the 1960's, Ford automobile plant in Dagenham, England, a group of 100 odd female workers cycle to work on a daily basis, and in sweat shop conditions so bad that they literally sweat and have to strip down to their bras to keep cool. What's worse, their application to switch wage classification from "unskilled" to "semi-skilled" is rejected.

Ironically, it takes a man to get the women to stand up for themselves – specifically to be paid the same as the men who are doing similar jobs. Sympathetic union representative Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins), encourages the feisty Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) to lead the flower power movement. Alas, her protest falls on deaf ears but not for long. When the women calls a strike, their unions get all frustrated and interpersonal relationships become strained as husbands are stuck in a predicament.


The villain in question is Ford executive Richard Schiff, who is sent to keep the ladies in hand and to prevent similar situations from being copied in Ford's factories elsewhere in the world. Sisters in arms include friends and Rosamund Pike, who plays Rita's sexist boss's trophy wife. Britian's secretary of state for employment and productivity and, more importantly, the first female cabinet minister Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson) eventually gets involved too.

British Sally Hawkins gives a stunning performance and the film itself shows to the world an important turning point – one that changed the lives of females not just in England and the States but everywhere in the world. That alone is one good reason to catch this film.

And when the credits roll, audience will see interviews with actual Dagenham workers and strikers who contributed to making equal pay a reality around the world. This is not just an entertaining film but one that documents and educates us on social history.

You might also like: Black Swan, Homecoming, It's a Great Great World, The Green Hornet

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