Sunday, 27 March 2011

March Bloodstones: Rita O’Grady, Lisa Hopkins and Barbara Caste in Made in Dagenham

I never reviewed Made in Dagenham. I got a screener copy of it one literally one day after I wrapped up my 2010 Year-End Awards, which was a shame because it would have featured in more than a few of the categories. The movie is a simply produced biopic covering the fight for sex-equality in England, and which such a garishly “feminist” evidence of courageous women are obvious, but the good thing about Made in Dagenham is that despite it’s faults and its very prosaic plot it’s a whole lot more fun than you’d expect it to be.
Made in Dagenham reminds me most of movies like The Women or Stage Door - not because it’s a slice of classic life, but because in its wide foray of females I almost don’t want to single out any one of them as best in show. Almost. I’m both surprised and heartened that despite picking up zero awards’ tractions Rosamund Pike was being so constantly fêted as a potential spoiler in the supporting actress race way back when. To say that the role is paper thin might be a little too harsh. The thing is, the role manages to be paper thin and hopelessly predictable at the same time but Rosamund sells it. She’s always so good opposite fellow actresses (perfect opposite Keira and Carey) and truth be told – one of my favourite moments of the film is the throwaway moment in the car when Lisa and Rita both band together to bring down a chauvinistic teacher at their sons’ school. It reads as a bit insular that this “small” act is indicative of their female bravery...but whatever.

Not that Sally isn’t good herself, I was no big fan of her in Happy-Go-Lucky but she’s so charismatic here constantly besting the material she’s given. She’s sort of brilliant opposite everyone in her sedateness, in contrast to Miranda who finds her brilliance by being explosive. My appreciation for Miranda flip-flops. She seems to be having too much fun playing Barbara that sometimes you can just see her being over-the-top for its very own sake. She knows when to rein it in, though. What Barbara does for the cause is no small feat, and that moment where she has her way with her boorish assistants is brilliant.

I figure, my backhand compliments make it seem as if the trio are good despite overreaching issues in Made in Dagenham...and they are. The film has its issues, but it’s so sensible and confident I can’t help but forgive its simplicity. And then, these women are so infectious in their coruageousness, more often than not surprising you with their characterisations. How can I resist?
previously: Shoshanna and Bridget von Hammersmark in Inglourious BasterdsFrancine Evans in New York/New YorkDeanie Loomis in Splendor in the GrassHelen and Margaret Schlegel in Howards End
Were you a fan of Made in Dagenham?


Alex in Movieland said...

I didn't like the film, I thought the writing was poor.

Sally was my choice for 2008, but she was just ok here.

I did LOVE Miranda Richardson and thought her scenes were easily the best.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

alex i don't know, i liked it obviously. light weight, but quite sincere - all things being considered.

Anonymous said...

Loved it!