I’ve had a pretty great week of watching women in films in positive roles. Last night I watched MADE IN DAGENHAM, the story of Rita O’Grady, the British woman we can thank for allowing us to (theoretically) be paid the same wages as men. It’s a film that came and went (A BBC production with Sallie Hawkins – two things that don’t exactly bring Americans flocking to the theaters, a huge loss in this case.) In a lot of ways, we’ve seen this story before. A woman inadvertently gets put in a position where she has the opportunity to stand up and say something – and once she realizes she can say it, she realizes she must say it. And keep saying it.
But the performances, costumes and art direction are amazing. Rosamund Pike as the dumb arm ornament of her successful Ford exec husband despite her PhD; the brilliantly dowdy Miranda Richardson as the government minister who hilariously browbeats the two male assistants who are always doubting her authority; Bob Hoskinsas the only man who doesn’t believe women are drooling morons or lucky when their husbands aren’t drunk and smacking ’em around; and, of course, the aforementioned Sallie Hawkins who is tremendous as Rita.
And fantastic tracking shots of everyone bicycling to work at the car production plant. That was when exercise was a routine part of the day before we all got fat.