Everyone who visits my blog, know every now and then I will talk about newer films. Last night I had the good fortune to watch Made in Dagenham on cable. It is a great film and it is based on a true story, which makes it all that much better.
Set in 1968 Dagenham, England at the Ford auto factory, which employs thousands of male workers and 187 female machinists, who are vastly underpaid. The women mainly assemble the car seat upholstery but do so in poor working conditions. It's get so hot in their work area that they have to strip down to their bras to compensate. A running gag is that every time a male comes into their area they scream "MAN!" and promptly put their tops back on.
Rita (played by Sally Hawkins in a terrific performance...and I think I love her) is asked by the shop steward (a sly and understanding Bob Hoskins) to lead the women to ask for equal pay or they will go on strike. Rita is bolstered by her good friend Connie (Geraldine James in a deep and moving performance) who is a veteran worker; Brenda (Andrea Riseborough) who is all sass; and Sandra, the hot to trot blonde of the group (played by Jamie Winstone).
The girls meet resistance in their union leader Monty, who is a piece of crap. I booed and hissed every time he was onscreen as he states that he is working for the betterment of the women, but behind their backs, he is secretly negotiating with the top brass of Ford to undermine the ladies efforts. I wished that me and him didn't have to share the same name. So if you watch this film, try not to think of me as this Monty, please!
The performances are all brilliant led by Sally Hawkins as Rita. She comes across as very shy at first and quite unsure of herself. But once she jumps into the fray she doesn't back down. Ever. Great support from Hoskins, Richardson, James, and Pike. And impressive performances by the relative newcomers Winstone and Riseborough. The look of the 60's is perfectly captured through the clothes and the music. And while it is a drama, there is plenty of humor too. As the situation gets dire, the women still find a way to laugh and stick together. Made in Dagenham is one of the best films I have ever seen. If you have never seen it or even heard of it, please track it down and watch it. You won't be disappointed. Highly recommended. Also look for Andrew Lincoln of Love Actually and The Walking Dead in a bit part as a mean school-teacher.