Old fashioned feel-good yarn


Based on real events,

Made in Dagenham

is about a plucky group of 187 machinists in an English Ford Motor Company factory in the 1960s who went on strike asking to be recognised as semi-skilled workers, and ended up demanding pay parity with their male assembly line colleagues.

Led by Rita O'Grady (Hawkins), and encouraged by union representative Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins), the women's actions surprise everyone, including themselves, and result in the factory being shut down, putting thousands of workers out of work. Ultimately though, what they did resulted in the 1970 Equal Pay Act.

This comedy-drama takes you behind the speeches, the protests, and the strikers' growing confidence in their cause, to acknowledge just how difficult it was for these ordinary women to juggle their household duties and to be taken seriously by the unions, Ford and their husbands.

Hawkins does a good job of the reluctant but natural-born leader Rita, although constantly being on the verge of tears when she delivers her speeches becomes a little tiresome.

She's supported well by her colourful co-workers, and joined by Rosamund Pike as the well-educated but domesticated wife of a Ford manager, and Miranda Richardson, as the Labour Government's Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, Barbara Castle.

Richardson in particular seems to play her part for laughs, and as if inspired by her previous role as another fiery red head, Queen Elizabeth I from the telly show


, you almost expect during her rants at her imbecile assistants that she will order them executed.

Much is made of the fact this film is brought to us by the director of

Calendar Girls

, Nigel Cole, and that's because it gives you an idea of what to expect - a well-crafted story filled with solid performances about a group of women stepping out of their comfort zone and achieving something they never thought possible.

The uplifting, charming tone is similar too, and while both stories are based on real events they're simplified nicely to tell the story clearly, with an idealised but not totally unrealistic feel about them. Clearly, if you enjoyed

Calendar Girls

, you'll enjoy this heartwarming yarn as well.


Bob Hoskins, Sally Hawkins


Nigel Cole

Running time:

113 mins


M (offensive language)