When I'm not screening piles of CVs

I'm at the movies or writing reviews

Made in Dagenham

Written by Joy Dembo on . Posted in 2011

Made in Dagenham is one of those really memorable movies!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, do yourself a favour, and go and see “Made in Dagenham”.  I guarantee you will get on everyone’s nerves for a week, after seeing it, as you won’t be able to stop talking about it.

Set in 1968, the movie is based on a true story.  It is historical fact that the Ford Manufacturing Plant in Dagenham, in the UK, employed many thousands of men and only 187 women, in the sixties.  Whilst the men worked in a modern air-conditioned plant, the women machinists worked in appalling conditions, sewing the leather seat covers for the vehicles.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, they were sexually discriminated against, and paid far less than men working in similar positions.

Britain was being crippled by Industrial Action in the sixties, but it was virtually unheard of for women to down tools, but when the Dagenham ladies were reclassified as “unskilled labour”, and had their meagre pay packets cut, their patience ran out, and they embarked on a strike that closed the plant down and literally brought Ford to its knees.

Rita O’Grady, played by award-winning actress, Sally Hawkins, is a mousy,  shy individual, used to being dismissed by her male counterparts,  in every facet of her life, but when she is asked to represent the women at a meeting with the powers that be, she comes out of her shell, and acts as the protagonist for the 1968 strike.

It is a story of incredible perseverance, which took a huge toll on their family lives, but the womens’ courage and determination eventually paid off.  Taking on the local community, top management at Ford, in the UK and the USA, and eventually, the British Government, the women scored a huge victory for Women’s Rights and their triumph led to the promulgation of The Equal Pay Act, revolutionising  payment conditions for British women.

Rita O’Grady was a shining example of  how an Ugly Duckling can turn into a Beautiful Swan.  Her comical unpredictability, intelligence and  refusal to keep her mouth shut, captured the attention of politician Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson), who was engaged in her own private struggle for recognition in the male-dominated House of Commons, and the rest is “history”.

I know I am going to give my age away, but the movie brought back such beautiful memories of the “swinging sixties”, and the British lower middle class way of life.  The music,  mini skits, beehive hairdos and high heel shoes are so reminiscent of the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” era!

This one gets 10 out of 10 from me.

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