Wednesday, November 3, 2010
We Want Sex... Equality!
October 28, 2010 (Australian release date)
Dir: Nigel Cole
1968. It's a man's world. But not for long...
In 1968 a group of female workers walked off the job at the Ford Dagenham car plant. Their demands were simple; end sexual discrimination and be given equal pay. Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) leads the protest with the support of union rep Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins). Rounding out this delightful cast is Miranda Richardson as First Secretary of State, Barbara Castle; the always charming Rosamund Pike as the wife of one of the Ford bosses, and Geraldine James as Connie, close friend and co-worker to Rita.
From the director of Calendar Girls is the line being pushed pretty hard and with reason, this film, despite detailing a monumental historic event, is handled with pink frilly gloves. This makes for a thoroughly entertaining film but one that lacks strength in many places. The characters have been created and not based on actual people, and the archival footage of the real women of the Ford Dagenham plant that plays over the film's closing credits feels at odds with the film we've just seen.
There's no denying Sally Hawkins makes this film, she's charming and funny and really nails the feisty underdog role. While women are known to be emotional creatures it was disappointing to see the female characters so often appear to be holding back tears or acting out of emotion when attempting to portray strong characters. The film is, however, consistently funny. There's a scene that comes to mind in the plant, when a young man enters the women's work room there's a delightful reversal of gender roles - this time it is the women clawing and wolf whistling at the man and you can't help but at least smile.
Made in Dagenham is a sweet treat of a film with great performances and a fun approach to a very meaningful moment in the women's liberation movement. The film captures the period perfectly with wonderful costumes and music and while it's not a film many will rush to see I would highly recommend this as at least a DVD rental, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.
3.5 / 5