MADE IN DAGENHAM
Compelling, But Socialist
Release Date: November 19, 2010
Genre: Historical Drama
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 113 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Nigel Cole
Executive Producer: None
Writer: William Ivory
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com; Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com
The setting is 1968 when Harold Wilson is prime minister and Barbara Castle is Wilson’s Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity. At the time, England was wracked by frequent labor strikes, which have reduced the nation’s productivity.
In Dagenham, at the local Ford factory, Rita O’Grady is a young married mother, one of 187 women who work in the division sewing together car seat upholstery. Rita and her fellow workers decide to bring their grievances to management about getting lower pay than the men and being classified as “unskilled” workers.
Their sympathetic union rep, Albert, who remembers his mother slaving away for little pay, encourages Rita to join her best friend and shop steward, Connie, at the meeting. Outraged by the lack of respect for the women by Ford’s local management at the meeting, Rita surprises everyone, including herself, by speaking very forcibly.
Led by Rita and Connie, the women go out on strike for a day. The management refuses to listen, however, so the women decide to go on strike permanently until their demands are met.
At first, the men at the factory, including Rita’s husband Eddie, are sympathetic. Then, however, when the factory runs out of upholstery, all the men are laid off.
The question then becomes, will the women stick to their guns, even when the lack of money starts to hurt their families and their husbands get fed up?
MADE IN DAGENHAM clearly sympathizes with Rita and the women’s struggles to get equal pay. Even the rich wife of one of the Ford manager’s expresses sympathy for their struggle and urges Rita to keep fighting. [SPOILER ALERTS] Eventually, the government decides in favor of the women and decides to force Ford to give women all over Britain in similar positions 92% of the same pay as the male skilled workers, with the promise of equal pay legislation later. An epilogue tells viewers that an Equal Pay Act became law in 1970.
MADE IN DAGENHAM is a very well produced, but overlong, movie that seems fairly accurate. The acting is excellent. Sally Hawkins as Rita is especially good in the role that has to carry the film. In fact, the whole movie is very entertaining and often funny and heartfelt, without being ponderous or boring.
Viewers can, and perhaps should, sympathize with these women’s efforts to be labeled as “skilled” workers, that is what they were, and to get a fairer wage. However, the movie not only supports lengthy strikes, it also supports government action to force employers to pay people what government bureaucrats decide by fiat they should get. Workers may get temporary benefits from these kinds of policies, but these policies have almost destroyed the automobile industry and other industries in Great Britain as well as the United States. And, who gets hurt the most then? The average worker and his or her average family, that’s who!
Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® judges MADE IN DAGENHAM as excessive. There’s even a couple positive quotes by two male union leaders from demented Communist fanatic Karl Marx in the movie! No wonder MADE IN DAGENHAM was funded partly by the British government.
Note: MADE IN DAGENHAM also contains plenty of strong foul language and a brief scene of depicted fornication. See our CONTENT section above for more details. Thank you!
MADE IN DAGENHAM is very well produced, though overlong. It also seems fairly accurate. The acting is spot on. Sally Hawkins is especially good in the role that carries the movie. Viewers can sympathize with the women’s efforts to be labeled as “skilled” workers and get a fairer wage. However, the movie not only supports lengthy strikes. It also supports government action to force employers to pay people what government bureaucrats decide. It also has plenty of strong foul language and two quotes from Communist fool Karl Marx. So, it has a socialist agenda that leaves much to be desired.