Review — Made in Dagenham

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Danny Moltrasi, Film, Reviews
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[Reviewed by: Danny Moltrasi]

“Every single one of us, is entitled to the same pay as men.”

Made in Dagenham tells the story of how a group of small female workers in a Ford Dagenham assembly plant decided to stand up and change the world. Directed by the man behind Calendar Girls, Nigel Cole, we are presented with an uplifting story about the ability to change things through having strong morals and persistence. A fairly light-hearted film that never really gets out of its comfort zone, however Made in Dagenham is still a thoroughly enjoyable, and educational film on a landmark moment in British political history.

The 1968 Ford sewing machinist strike takes centre-stage at the Dagenham plant, where all the female workers walk out in protest due to the unfair pay and sexual discrimination. Led by Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins),the group start off at their humble beginnings in Dagenham, but slowly gain the attention of the national press as they bring Fords production line to a standstill. Rita has to overcome many hurdles along the way, from people not believing their case to be of any real concern, to her male colleagues, which include her husband Eddie, (Daniel Mays) refusing to support their protest as their work dries up as well.

Made in Dagenham does pretty much everything that is expected of it, a tightly constructed story that fits in all of its conventions and expectations perfectly, rarely drags and is easy-going for the average viewer. It is a feel good film, with an important message, one of fair and equal pay for all. Nothing is examined too deep, but this does not really detract from the feel as a whole, due to its fairly light-hearted tone, something that the British film industry (despite it recently shooting itself in the foot with the closing of the UK Film council…) has seemingly always been able to do a good job of. Lead, Sally Hawkins does a fantastic job in her performance, and is constantly believable in the range of emotions and situations she faces, and an Oscar nomination would not be much of a surprise here. Her performance is most defiantly the highlight. What however, did confuse me was the seeming suggestion that these ladies did in fact secure equal pay across the board. It is true that their actions did lead to the Equal Pay Act 1970 in the UK, however with only the smallest background knowledge it is known that women are still more often than not paid far less than men. This may be a feel-good film, and some leeway can be given with the protesters actual impact, but I am of the opinion that the message should have been stronger, and the problem that is still far too common be made clearer.

A film with a good message at the centre of it, Made in Dagenham never really steps out of its comfort zone. However, what it does do is provide us with some good characters, a solid script and a nice, easy-going film. It does exactly what it intended, and for that it was be commended. A good, breezy film, that is sure to leave its audience happy.



  1. Brett Gerry says:

    This film itself isn’t very good, but what’s worse is the way its suposed political sentiment has been used as pro-UKFC propaganda:

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