In 2008, American women made an average of 77 cents to every dollar earned by American men. As of 2011, the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been ratified by the required number of states. These sad but true facts make the reality of “Made in Dagenham” that much more unbelievable, and the film’s story all the more inspiring.
“Dagenham” details the 1968 strike by female machinists at Ford’s plant in Dagenham, England, over pay equity. The subject itself may be a bit dry, but the film is incredible, an emotionally compelling, fast-paced movie filled with 1960s nostalgia and notions of gender equity.
Sally Hawkins is outstanding as the machinists’ de facto leader, and she is supported by a brilliant group of British actors, including Rosamund Pike as an underestimated housewife and Bob Hoskins as a sympathetic supervisor. Miranda Richardson makes for a ferocious Secretary of State for employment, and special praise goes to Richard Schiff of “The West Wing,” whose presence onscreen has been sorely missed.
“Made in Dagenham” is not naïve or idealistic in the slightest. It shows the realities and implications of the women’s strike, an action that was, at the time, unprecedented. And its rousing ending makes the sad truth about modern pay equity all the more regrettable.
Above all, “Made in Dagenham” features a fantastic story and is an excellent film.
Rating: 3.5/4 stars
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike
Directed By: Nigel Cole
MPAA Rating: R
Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.