Made in Dagenham is a slice of sixties life. It’s the true story of the 1968 seamstress’s strike at the Ford Car Plant in Essex – a social revolution for equal pay for equal work conducted in the face of gross intimidation, lack of support from the menfolk, grinding poverty, and all the greasy chip-pans and nylons and council flats that the sixties could throw at it. Although it spells out the real cost of fighting for change, it doesn’t have the emotional thwack of a Milk, say, but rather sits within the pantheon of solid, good-natured, period Brit films – The Boat that Rocked springs to mind.
Essex is of course the prime location (the fx establishing shot of the industrial chimneys pumping bilge into the air is a reminder that it’s a wonder that anyone ever made it to the seventies) but as the women’s march proceeds up the political scale they bounce around a bit, to a march on Parliament, to the TUC conference in Eastbourne and finally to Westminster again, where they are met by the force of nature that was Secretary of State, Barbara Castle. (Miranda Richardson is a show-stopper) Oh, and Rosamund Pike’s in it too, showing a bit of sisterhood across the class barrier; God I love her.