By Matt Brunson
MADE IN DAGENHAM
DIRECTED BY Nigel Cole
STARS Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins
Made In Dagenham is the sort of lighthearted and faintly inspirational picture that the British can make in their sleep and occasionally have. Audiences who never grow tired of films in the tradition of The Full Monty, Waking Ned Devine and Calendar Girls (to name just three of many) are sure to lap up this latest offering in that vein; other viewers won't be quite as enthused but can still appreciate the movie's fine performances and peppy cheerleader attitude.
Set in 1968, it concerns the true-life tale of when the working women of Dagenham, England specifically, those toiling at the Ford Motor Factory there banded together to demand equal gender pay from their employers. Backed by only one sympathetic male (Bob Hoskins' jovial union rep), lovely Rita (Sally Hawkins) becomes the movement's unlikely leader, causing friction among her friends, family and co-workers.
Lacking the ferocity of Norma Rae, the film keeps the situation's obvious tensions and dangers on the back burners, opting instead to play up the characters' spunk and humor. But it's still too slight to be considered the feel-good movie of the year; we'll call it the feel-pretty-good movie of the year and leave it at that.