Review: Made in Dagenham Blu-ray

Made in Dagenham Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Nigel Cole | CAST: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike, Miranda Richardson
RELEASE DATE: 3/29/2011 | PRICE: DVD $28.96, Blu-ray $34.95
BONUSES: commentary, making-of featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes
SPECS: R | 113 min. | Drama comedy | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, SpaniSh subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Made in DagenhamTelling a story that can make you laugh and break your heart is apparently important to Nigel Cole, the director of Made in Dagenham, and he succeeded beautifully with this film.

The movie tells the story of the women Ford machinists who, in England circa 1958, went on strike to demand pay that was equal to what the male workers received. It’s a story that is obviously very important to all involved, as we find out in the making-of featurette and Cole’s commentary on the Blu-ray disc. Indeed, Cole tells us, many of the actors, including Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa), took their roles purely because of their love for this story.

Like Cole’s wonderfully touching 2003 comedy Calendar Girls, Made in Dagenham tells a story of strong women — and real women — who soldiered on in their mission despite a lot of opposition. In the case of Dagenham, the women’s fight led to the first equal pay law in England and inspired legislation in other countries. And talk about opposition: These women, who were not the most educated, and were certainly not wealthy or powerful, went up against a huge international corporation, Ford, in a battle that ended up putting their husbands out of work and getting the government involved.

True to his belief that an important story like this is enjoyed and listened to more when there’s laughter, Cole provides a healthy dose of funny in the film, mainly from the wonderful characters in the machinists shop. From the beehive-hair sexpot (Andrea Riseborough, Never Let Me Go), who interrupts a quickie in the back of a car to comment on the workmanship of the seat’s stitching, to the smiles and nudges of the choir boys as they pass the picketing women who have set up a sign that says “We Want Sex Equality” and accidentally rolled up the last word. (This second example actually happened, according to Cole.)

But underneath the laughs is a heartfelt story (with a wonderful screenplay from William Ivory) of empowerment that’s not only about women, but shows that anyone can and should fight for what’s right.

Cole, who says he wanted to tell this story after hearing a reunion of the real-life women on a radio station while he was in his car, comments on his penchant for these types of films in his commentary. He says his mother, who wasn’t happy being a housewife, returned to university and became a doctor of psychiatry, and he has always been influenced by that.

The performances in Made in Dagenham are all top notch, with a cast filled with such excellent British actors as Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Hoskins, Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Rosamund Pike (An Education), Andrew Lincoln (TV’s The Walking Dead) and Jaime Winstone (Boogie Woogie), daughter of Sexy Beast‘s Ray. Plus the great American character actor Richard Schiff (TV’s The West Wing), who Cole describes as having his head around the wrong way in the movie as he’s usually balding on top of his head and has a beard, but in Dagenham, his head was full of hair and his chin bare.

Many of the actors, including Hawkins, Hoskins and Pike are interviewed in the making-of featurette, which is an interesting 10-minute look at the making of the film, including locations, shooting and what it meant to everyone involved.

The Blu-ray also includes eight deleted scenes, which are interesting but don’t add much, and a fun outtakes reel that shows the actors’ love of the F word.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.