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Review: Made in Dagenham

Hawkins gets fiery as union leader
By TOM MEEK  |  November 23, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars


Back in the '60s, a ragtag lot of seamstresses at the Ford Dagenham auto plant in East London cast a rock at the glass ceiling by demanding equal pay. The strike that followed became an international spectacle involving union heads, the British Labour Office, and the Ford brass across the pond in Detroit — all making a lively backdrop for this cheeky docudrama by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls). The Norma Rae–esque heroics of Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) take center stage as she rises up from meek upholsterer to become the fiery leader of her fellow female employees. It's all very rousing, but O'Grady's transformation and the impetus for the dispute/strike erupt out of nowhere. Nonetheless, Hawkins, so fantastic in Mike Leigh's Happy Go Lucky, gives another award-worthy performance, and Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson provide adroit back-up as the union floor rep and the British Labour minister.

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