Monday, 4 October 2010
Made in Dagenham
Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham has received some deserved rave reviews. Sally Hawkins is really superb as the Ford seamstress who leads a 1968 battle for equal pay with the semi-skilled men at the Dagenham factory. Their battle received national attention and highlighted similar inequities before 1970s Equal Pay legislation. Miranda Richardson is great as a feisty Barbara Castle, too. There are moving performances from Geraldine James and Roger Lloyd Pack. And there's a great story, a reminder of equality battles past and a pro-union plot with potential wide appeal. But the film has serious flaws, too. Many of the cast - excepting Hawkins and Richardson - are cast in cardboard cut-out roles, two-dimensional and talents wasted. This is certainly true of the men, including Bob Hoskins playing himself and a shop steward, but is equally true of many of the women in the cast including the ubiquitous Andrea Riseborough. The script is terribly formulaic, like so many such British movies - including Calendar Girls - which may provide mass appeal, but holds back many of the fine cast. Nevertheless, this is a significant movie that makes some important political issues accessible in a way that Ken Loach never could.