Made in Dagenham
Sally Hawkins stars as the reluctant leader of a group of English Ford Motor Company seamstresses who went on strike in 1968 and paved the way for Parliament’s 1970 Equal Pay Act. To keep this true story sufficiently inspirational, screenwriter William Ivory and director Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) have contrived the sweatshop saga as crowd-pleasing, quaintly mugging period piece. Playing it safe, they seem to think a film about organized labor and feminism should be breezy and patronizing and that the best way to sell an audience on indignation is to be ingratiating. Reportedly We Want Sex was an early working title, taken from the moment when the women don’t manage to unfurl their “We Want Sex Equality” banner all the way, tee hee. Still, in spite of all the obvious machinations, it is exciting to see Hawkins bring her offbeat wit to bear on this (composite) character. Also with Rosamund Pike, Miranda Richardson and Bob Hoskins.