Director: Nigel Cole
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Daniel Mays, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson
A wonderfully British film with a fine cast of English talent – including Rosamund Pike, Kenneth Cranham and Geraldine James – retracing the headline-grabbing 1968 strike by the 187 female machinists (the rest of the 55,000 workforce was male) that brought the mighty Ford motor company to its knees.
The film has the sort of charm that the British cinema can muster but here there is also a gritty, honest feel to the drama, and a nod to the decade’s changing attitudes to the sexual revolution and equality.
For at Dagenham the women were paid far below their male colleagues and often worked in virtual Dickensian conditions … they demanded equality and were prepared to fight to the end for it.
Hawkins plays Rita O’Grady, the woman selected to lead the battle, supported by shop steward Albert (a brilliant performance from Hoskins).
We’re not in twee 'Calendar Girls' territory here, rather we are in tough, ground-breaking territory that still manages to be human, observant and wholeheartedly gripping.
Hawkins might reasonably expect major honours – Oscar, BAFTA? – for her performance in an outstanding film.
Star Rating: 5/5