Made in Dagenham tells the true story of the female workers strike at the Ford Dagenham factory in the UK. The world was a very different place in 1968, but one thing stood out above all others – women in the workplace were treated as second class and so was their pay.
Women received half the pay of their male colleagues but when the women of the Ford Dagenham plant walked out demanding equal pay their actions resulted in the closure of the factory. Ultimately that became the catalyst to force through the Equal Pay Act.
Whilst this topic is about a serious political landmark, Made in Dagenham succeeds in telling the story in an uplifting way. The director Nigel Cole does a tremendous job, supplying the perfect blend of comedy whilst firmly displaying how outrageous the argument was. He also manages to capture the period wonderfully, providing a truly authentic feel to life in the late sixties.
It's not just the excellent script and direction that makes Made in Dagenham such a great watch. The real standout comes from the stellar cast. For me, there is not one weak performance from anyone. Sally Hawkins is brilliant as Rita O'Grady the spokesperson for the striking women. She provides a powerful but touching performance along with Daniel Mays who plays her husband. Bob Hoskins is fantastic as the union rep that helps the women push their fight all the way to Westminister. But the real standout is the portrayal of the Employment Secretary Barbara Castle, played by Miranda Richardson.
Made in Dagenham has all of the hallmarks of a classic British Comedy. But, with a powerful message delivered in a wonderfully heartwarming way. In fact, Made in Dagenham is one of the best feel-good films I have ever seen. Simply put, this is a film that everyone should see. It's such a shame that it has a 15 rating because younger viewers would learn a great deal from this inspirational story.