By Jennifer Merin
WeNews film critic
Thursday, November 4, 2010
"Made in Dagenham" opens Nov. 19 and is sure to boost English machinist Rita O'Grady into the woman-worker-warrior ranks of Norma Rae and Karen Silkwood. There's plenty more in store this month, including a thriller about Valerie Plame.
(WOMENSENEWS)--With year-end holidays and Academy Awards on the horizon, November promises plenty for moviegoers.
But if forced to choose, I'd pick "Made in Dagenham," opening Nov. 19, as the most must-see film of all.
This stirring history-based drama is about the 1968 strike at Ford's Dagenham car factory in England, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination, shut down the plant and won equal pay and recognition for their skills as workers.
The wonderful Sally Hawkins--who played Poppy in 2008's "Happy-Go-Lucky"--stars as the unflappable and unstoppable Rita O'Grady, a skilled machinist, loving homemaker and regular gal. O'Grady stands up for what she knows to be just and finds herself leading her co-workers forward. By persuading the male-dominated union to support their cause, O'Grady and the other strikers win a victory for unionized women everywhere.
"Made In Dagenham" is destined to join the ranks of "Norma Rae" and "Silkwood" as a classic tale of a salt-of-the-earth woman driven by trying circumstances into the forefront of the battle for economic justice.
Now for the chronological order of movie releases.
On Nov. 5, three notable movies, including two political scandals, hit the screens.
"Fair Game" is Doug Liman's truth-based spy thriller about Valerie Plame (played by Naomi Watts), the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by White House officials allegedly trying to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn). Wilson had written a column for The New York Times indicating that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction as a way to justify invading Iraq.
The film's behind-the-headlines view of Washington politics is fascinating. Plame is a compelling character, portrayed as a woman who stands strong against political pressure and refuses to succumb to threats. The onscreen chemistry between Watts and Penn, who appeared together in 2003's "21 Grams," also stokes the film.
In "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer," documentary maker Alex Gibney looks beyond the tabloid tale of the former New York governor's politically disastrous involvement with call girl Ashley Dupre to probe the underlying politics also in play. The film also explores how torrid current events and incidents shape social mores and our way of life.
"For Colored Girls" is Tyler Perry's cinematic version of Ntozake Shange's " For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf," a collection of poetic monologues about abuse, abortion and other issues facing black women that was brilliantly staged in 1974. Perry--famous for cross-dressing into the leading role of his huge-grossing "Madea" films--recruits a powerhouse cast that includes Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson and Macy Gray. There is stunning cinematography but Perry-esque melodrama stunts the gut-level lyricism of Shange. Disappointing.