Thursday, 7 June 2012

Made In Dagenham: A Striking Idea

This hilarious comedy of the the working class women of the Ford car manufacturing plant struggles for equal pay and equal rights was by no means faithful but it certainly captured something of the atmosphere of these extraordinary events. My favourite thing about this equally touching and entertaining film was the way in which the various female characters were portrayed as individuals, but coming together across the divides of age, politics and class. A very British film celebrating the eyeliner and mini-skirts of the sixties as well as the courage and determination of the workers involved. The 1960's style of the film was shown in the soundtrack of really good music, colourful graphics and beehive hairstyles, making Made in Dagenham glamourous as well as gritty.

I also loved the way fashion seemed to unite the diverse group of women. The film explored the influence of fashion and how newer styles of clothes had a positive impact on women. From the borrowed Biba minidress, to Mrs Castle swapping shopping style notes with Rita and the machinists before the press conference on the Equal Pay Act, the entire film was a feast for fashionable eyes.

The characters included the leader, Rita (Sally Hawkins ), Connie ( Geraldine James), Sandra (Jaime Winstone), and Brenda (Andrea Riseborough). There was also Lisa ( Rosamund Pike), the posh one, whose degree had done nothing to earn her husbands respect or appreciation and felt just as robbed and mistreated as the working-class women. I thought that one of the most important things to learn from this film was that at this time as a woman, you may have had a brain but you had to be prepared to fight for your right to use it. And nowhere was this more evident than in Miranda Richardson's brilliant portrayal of Barbara Castle. She was so witty and warm but despite her love of whisky, incredibly sharp and a fearsome political opponent. I watched this at my aunt's house, and being in her 70's she remembered when she was in government so that was really interesting to hear about the events from her. She remembered her as "a powerhouse!"
After seeing this film, I will honestly never be able to think of the car industry as anything less than fabulous ever again and my obsession with sixties style and makeup has only been increased. And next time I can't remember why I'm interested in politics the first name to come into my head will be Barbara Castle- a truly inspiring woman! Overall, it was a really enjoyable, deeply funny film, loved by the three generations of women I saw it with. From 12 to 70 something, everyone was glued to the screen for the entire running time, despite my aunty's gorgeous dog scampering around the room! I would recommend it for any age or group of girls/women. It's funny, empowering, unashamedly girlie and I loved every minute!

Jessica x

(All images from Google search.)

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