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Attention ladies (and gents too): If you liked the feel-good Helen Mirren starrer "Calendar Girls," chances are you'll love "Made in Dagenham." A similarly uplifting tale that puts some of Britain's best actresses front and center, "Dagenham" finds "Calendar Girls" director Nigel Cole telling another true story of women coming together to make a difference.
Sally Hawkins subs for Mirren as ring leader Rita O'Grady in "Dagenham." The year is 1968, in a large suburb in east London. Unhappy with the substandard pay, sexual discrimination and awful working conditions at the Ford Dagenham car plant where she works with 186 other women, O'Grady stages a strike to demand equal pay.
With the aid of a sympathetic union representative (an endearing Bob Hoskins), their case makes headlines and attracts the attention of Britain's Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson), who champions their cause, and makes history in the process.
As a fictionalized take on a true story, "Made in Dagenham" is all kinds of predictable, yet undeniably entertaining from start to rousing finish. The cast, led by a remarkable Hawkins, is uniformly strong and engaging. Richardson especially stands out in her handful of scenes as the brash and brilliant Castle.
Sporting firry, immaculately coiffed red hair and a stringent stare, Richardson plays Castle - a woman who worked in a man's world - as a powerful and uncompromising figure who showed great compassion to the women of Dagenham.
Aside from the winning ensemble, the colorful 60's costumes and fun soundtrack add a lot of bounce to tale. Be sure to stick around during the end credits to hear from the actual ladies of Dagenham, an inspiring group who've lost none of their wit and spark.