CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, January 23, 2012

Made In Dagenham (2010) is a top notch drama...Highly Recommended!

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.

The women on a typical work day

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 with her all so lovely smile

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 always happy Albert

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!

Rough day for Sandra

At first the executives don't think these women will go the distance, but days turn into weeks then into months and then production is shut down and now the male workers are out of work as well. Which brings a considerable amount of tension between wives and husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends. Also adding to the predicament is Lisa Hopkins (hey it's Rosamund Pike...who proves once again that she is more than a pretty face) as the wife of one of the executives. She is all for the women and hates the way her husband treats her as having no voice in the matter. Well when an American executive from Ford comes to get a handle on the situation she lets loose why she thinks Ford is no good when it comes to treating their employees. It's a seminal moment for Lisa and the film in whole.

Lisa greeting dinner her dress

Also getting involved is Secretary of State Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson, all red-headed and fiery) who is conflicted because her boss, the Prime Minister doesn't want to make waves with the US auto giant, and the women who value her trust. Castle ends up meeting several of the women for a little tea function that turns kind of tense as Rita will not back down. Castle does sway to the women's side and politely tells the US auto executive to take his proposed offer and shove it. It's a moment that will have everyone cheer, women and men.

Brenda leading the strike and looking fabulous while doing it

History will show that through the efforts of Rita O'Grady, that the equal pay act was passed in 1970 in England and followed suit around the world in other countries. And that Ford changed it's practices to become much fairer to either of the sexes.

The women meeting Secretary of State Barbara Castle

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.



KimWilson said...

Sally Hawkins is good in everything. I haven't seen this, but it doesn't surprise me that a film with Hawkins and Richardson is a treat to watch.

CharmedLassie said...

I had a bit of difficulty imagining Hawkins as a mother (because the actress looks the same as she did when I first saw her years ago) but other than that it was a great film!

Irene Palfy said...

Love this film!!! Sally Hawkins is my second favourite modern actress!! Yay!! Glad you enjoyed the film, Monty!!


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