Made In Dagenham (Blu-ray)
We have NORMA RAE and now the hardworking gals overseas have MADE IN DAGENHAM. The only problem is DAGENHAM feels more like a Lifetime movie—a really good Lifetime movie. Does my reflection feel slightly sexist? Nah, it’s a compliment.
The film focuses on the ladies working for Ford Motor Company during the 1960s in Dagenham, England. They spend their days and nights doing embroidery for the upholstery in the vehicles. To make things more daunting, there are only 187 women workers versus 55,000 within the company. Sadly it seems like nothing is going to get better for these ladies. They work in terrible conditions with no positive motivation. Will anyone stand up for them?
At the center of everything is a quiet housewife by the name of Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins). After being urged by union representative Albert (Bob Hoskins) to attend one of Ford’s meetings, Rita comes into her own. Rita feels challenged when she hears that more unfair work is about to be shoved on her and her workmates. With help from Albert, who has been rallying for the women, Rita takes on the union and quickly her co-workers fall in line. From here the cause of the women goes a few steps further. Rita and Albert think it’s time that the women workers receive equal pay to that of their male co-workers.
It’s not an easy road though; this is where things start to get a little Lifetimey. Rita’s change comes quickly. As I said before, she was once a quiet little mouse of a housewife then suddenly she bursts into this boastful centerpiece–only in the movies kids. Of course there’s some drama for the families of the women workers and some romance. The film starts to get a little bogged down when this all comes into play, not because it’s bad, because the script needs a bit more fluff. Certain lines and moments fall flat due to the writing—not the actors.
While the film does inspire and remind us to be thankful for people like Rita, it’s really the great acting that shines here. Hawkins does a wonderful job as O’Grady. At times I felt a bit like I was watching an overachieving Kate Beckinsale. One actress that stood out for me was Rosamund Pike. This was an actress that I never really paid attention to until now. She sinks well into the role of a Mother fighting her own battles. Miranda Richardson is also in this film as Barbara Castle, the secretary of state for employment and productivity. Thankfully, you never have to worry about being letdown when Richardson has a role in a movie. Mrs. Richardson always delivers. P.S. I love you Bob Hoskins.
With a movie like MADE IN DAGENHAM, it makes me realize that there should be more female empowerment films. The only issue is they always seem to get bogged down in overdramatic details and sub-plots that no one cares about. While our own lives tend to weave left and right, they are never even close to glamorous. I also never knew about this story, since it is loosely based on true events. Whether she’s real or not, I could definitely rally for someone like Rita.
Video (2.35:1 Widescreen): The coloring is meant to be a throwback with a vintage feel, but I feel like the palette was over saturated with the pastels at times. This tends to soften some of the images up too much. Other than that, the bold colors do shine like the rest of the film.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): No complaints here. You can hear every little noise from the sweet tunes of nostalgia to the machines in the plant.
Commentary with director Nigel Cole: It was interesting to hear Cole gives his thoughts on the cast as well as the story/setting. I know many people were a fan of CALENDER GIRLS, so that same lot might really want to check this feature out.
Outtakes (2:00): Another case of “thankfully they left these out”. There’s an attempt at some background but it’s obviously unnecessary. Skip.
The Making of Made in Dagenham (13:00): This is the featurette that I really enjoyed. There wasn’t much to offer from the rest of the extras but this BTS look was fun. I just wish there was more information about the actual events and people involved in the true story.