Made in Dagenham is an uplifting and life affirming British film. Based upon the events of the Dagenham 1968 strikes by the women workers at Ford Motor’s machination factory, this film is a moving and empowering look at the events leading to the passing of the equal pay act. Set against a climate of union strikes and working class culture, Made in Dagenham charts the story of 187 women who went on strike in a dispute over being classed as unskilled workers for their work – sewing seat covers and door panels from scratch without stencils. The dispute quickly turns into a full scale protest and strike against the unjust inequality of the gender pay gap.
An incredible British cast bring heart and warmth to the film, grappling with big themes on a small scale. The struggles of working in a factory are offset by the strength and courage of the women. Sally Hawkins, who plays Rita O’Grady, packs a powerful performance as one of the spokespeople and leaders of the strike, and Bob Hoskins co-stars as Albert Passingham, who as the union shop leader, encourages the women in their strike action and brings some comic charm to the film. The tensions between sexual equality and equal pay, working class culture and social change make for an affecting and breathtaking mix in a film that is one of the must-sees of this Autumn.