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Made in Dagenham(2010)
No synopsis for Made in Dagenham.
For more about Made in Dagenham and the Made in Dagenham Blu-ray release, see Made in Dagenham Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James, Rosamund Pike, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Nigel Cole
» See full cast & crew
Made in Dagenham Blu-ray Review
No surprises, but "Dagenham' is a well made feel-good movie.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 2, 2011
This strike is about one thing and one thing only: fairness.
Made in Dagenham is one of those warm and fuzzy kind of movies, one where right triumphs over wrong, good people stand up for what is right not only for themselves but for humanity at large, and one's enjoyment of the film depends not on any sense of mystery but instead the quality of the ride on the way to the inevitable happily-ever-after conclusion. Indeed, one look at the premise more or less gives away the ending -- hint: the striking girls at the Dagenham Ford factory aren't going to get mowed down by a firing squad for treason, they won't be abducted by aliens, and they sure as heck won't settle for anything less than what they want -- but for a movie like this, predictability isn't a reason not to watch and the inevitable outcome in no way lessens the film's value. Movies like this are made for the sense of positive reinforcement they engender, as motivation for viewers to stand up for what is right in their own lives, and to enjoy a little bit of fictionalized history that's proof-positive that good people can make a good difference in the world in which they live, even when all the cards -- decades, if not centuries of tradition; naysayers; strained relationships; empty bank accounts; personal sacrifices; and playing with metaphorical fire -- dictate that forcing an issue, championing basic common sense, and going against the grain is a bad idea, unless, of course, they win.
At the Dagenham Ford Automotive plant, there are 55,000 male employees and only 187 women. The women work in miserable conditions that often leave them with no choice but to disrobe down to their underwear for comfort, and adding insult to injury is the fact that they only make a fraction of the money earned by their male counterparts. New guidelines have these female "machinists" -- they primarily sew together materials -- regraded as "unskilled" laborers, meaning their wages are destined to drop even further. The women -- with the help of a kindly union man named Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins, Maid in Manhattan) -- organize a strike, but it's not until one of their own, Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins, An Education), accompanies Passingham to a meeting with company executives and fervently speaks out for equal pay does the ball on a massive strike truly get rolling. The women rally around their co-worker and, after some time, their strike gains momentum and yields difficult consequences in the lives -- both personal and professional -- of all involved. Will the women of Dagenham get what they want and deserve, or will the old system shut them out and force them to adhere to unfair circumstances in the workplace?
One can easily read Made in Dagenham like a book, and one that spoils all the secrets on the jacket plot synopsis blurb at that. Things don't start out so well for the protestors; their voices go almost unheard, but of course things quickly pick up steam and their cause earns plenty of attention, not only from executives, but from media and other external entities, too. Of course, it doesn't go swimmingly; there's a disastrous trickle-down effect that threatens the livelihoods of the thousands of male workers, not to mention placing strains on marriages and bank accounts, which may lead to tragedy. It's all highly predictable stuff, and all that's left to be answered is whether the girls will despondently go back to work, forced out of their cause and having abandoned all hope of equality -- or, worse yet, lose their jobs -- or win the day, get what they want, and live happily ever after. Well, did Rudy get to play for Notre Dame? Did a figurative knight riding a figurative white steed rescue Julia Roberts? Did the sun rise today? Made in Dagenham wouldn't have been made if the outcome didn't work out for the main characters; the goodness is in the journey, the enjoyment of rooting on the right side of history. Made in Dagenham does a great job in that regard; it paints characters audiences will love, champions a good cause, and guarantees those precious warm and fuzzy feelings throughout and especially at the stand-up-and-cheer finale. Nothing wrong with a little feel-good pick-me-up these days.
Still, as cheery, uplifting, and cozy as it may be, Made in Dagenham -- and other movies like it -- can't work on story alone. The film features a rock-solid cast, none of whom may be superstars, but solid actors who melt into their roles and transport audiences to the factory floor and get to the heart of the cause for which they so adamantly fight. Sally Hawkins is fantastic in the lead role, playing the part with a quiet shyness that morphs into an outspoken, steadfast, "wont take 'no' for an answer" sort of girl who becomes a reluctant hero of sorts. Hawkins's character is always determined to do the right thing -- speaking out against an abusive teacher, for instance -- but it's not until she's thrust into a very public spotlight that she doesn't necessarily shed her reserved demeanor, but learns to cast it aside when need be. O'Grady is a character of destiny, a woman who like so many others falls into history but to her credit embraces the role fate's dealt her runs with it. Hawkins seems to understand the intricacies of the role, playing off the dual persona to perfection and never becoming an archetypical heroine but instead playing the part of Everywoman remarkably well. Bob Hoskins is wonderful in a supporting role, and Nigel Cole's (Calendar Girls) direction is simple but effective.
Made in Dagenham Blu-ray, Video Quality
Made in Dagenham may not be the prettiest movie out there, but Sony's Blu-ray release appears to be technically perfect. There's zero evident banding, no blockiness, no distracting edge halos, and the print is meticulously clean. Colors favor an ever-so-slightly faded bronze appearance, resulting in a slight sepia-toned look that seems intended to replicate a period appearance. Still, the various colors, both bright and dull, appear without even a hint of bleeding or other malformations. Fine detail is stable and accurate; whether major things like clothes and skin textures or the subtleties of a well-used blackboard or the size and texture of raindrops rolling off a windshield, the transfer handles everything within its view with the utmost attention to detail. Depth is quite good for a 2D image, and black levels are superb; nighttime shots reveal excellent shadow details. As noted, this might not be the snazziest-looking movie ever made, but this transfer is rock-solid, super-stable, and shows no evidence of even minor problems.
Made in Dagenham Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Made in Dagenham's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is reflective of the film's somewhat active but oftentimes reserved and talk-heavy sound design. The track features several classic tunes that play with a period-specific mushiness that actually sounds quite good, given the overall boost in clarity and space afforded them by the lossless presentation. Various sound effects -- from something as simple as the moving of a rattling chain wrapped around a padlocked gate or more pronounced and generalized rainfall -- are handled with exceptional clarity and plenty of space when the situation and effect call for it. The surround channels help out the front to bring the factory floor to vivid life; machines in action, chatty girls, and the like spill out from every speaker to truly place the listener in the middle of the action. Various crowd noises at strike scenes, too, do well to plop the listener in with the unhappy ladies. Of course, dialogue is perfectly accurate through the center channel. While this track has a few surprises in store, it's a generally smooth, reserved, and dialogue-intensive listen. Sony's track is superb, handling everything asked of it with ease.
Made in Dagenham Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Made in Dagenham isn't overflowing with extras, but fans won't be picketing outside Sony Home Entertainment demanding more, either.
Made in Dagenham Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Made in Dagenham no doubt maneuvers its audience to root for one side over the other; it never really digs into the reasons behind the opposition, but that's not what the movie is about. It's not a movie about balance but instead the search for it; equal pay is at the heart of the matter, but what Made in Dagenham is really about is the need to stand up for what is right, no matter the opposition. That's a valuable lesson to be learned and one that can apply to every aspect of life. Ultimately, Made in Dagenham is a basic feel-good movie that's as predicable as anything out there, but those feel-good overtones and important life lessons are what really count. Supported by steady direction and excellent performances, Made in Dagenham is well worth cheering for. Sony's Blu-ray release features a perfect 1080p transfer, a good lossless soundtrack, and several fine extras. Recommended.
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Made in Dagenham Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Made in Dagenham Blu-ray Announced - January 31, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Made in Dagenham for Blu-ray release on March 29. This film is based on the true story of the women in a Ford factory in England in 1968, who fought for their rights to equal pay. It stars Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins ...
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