Femme autoworkers strike for equality in entertaining 'Made in Dagenham'
Even women who have never worked in a factory will find something to cheer about in Made In Dagenham. Yes, this fiction film tells the true story of working-class women employed at a Ford Motor Company satellite plant in industrial England in 1968 who went out on strike to demand equal pay for equal work. But the issue of sexual inequality is painted in much broader strokes in this entertaining portrait of uppity women daring to do the unthinkable —stand up themselves—in a pre-feminist era when the old boy network still ruled every facet of society.
Looking back on the best films of 2010
The economy sucks, and universal health care is still a dream, but in one crucial way, things were looking up in 2010: I had multiple 4-star movies to choose from in compiling my annual Top 10 list. (Unlike last year, when I only saw one movie I considered 4-star-worthy, and that was a cartoon.)
Of course, most of the movies I loved this year were small and independent, demonstrating once again the inverse relationship between gigantic Hollywood budgets and quality.
Royal prince vs. stammer in masterful 'King's Speech'
If a Who's Who of Splendid British Thespians digging into a juicy true story of Royals in conflict is not your cup of tea, best steer clear of The King's Speech. But if you're looking for a gorgeously mounted entertainment, a compelling history lesson, a wry comedy of manners, or just a jolly game of Name That Actor, prepare to gobble down this tasty and rewarding holiday treat about an accidental monarch thrust into the limelight, struggling to conquer a private affliction that makes his public life a nightmare.
Directed by Tom Hooper (his last film was the excellent soccer drama, The Damned United), from a witty script by David Seidler, The King's Speech concerns the royal English prince soon to be known to the world as George VI (and father of the current Queen Elizabeth). An unexpected heir to the throne, destined to lead his people through the ravages of World War II, all that stood between George and greatness was a crippling stammer that made it virtually impossible for him to speak in public.
Natalie Portman swims into dark waters in ‘Black Swan’
If Girl Interrupted bitchslapped The Turning Point, the aftermath would resemble something like Black Swan. This psychological thriller, set in the competitive world of the New York City Ballet is haunting and hypnotic yet graceful and raw in the way it unfolds, layer by fascinating layer, into a gripping tale that explores the lines between reality and perception. It’s one of the best films of the year and its star, Natalie Portman, delivers a career-defining role that could win her an Oscar. (The star and the film just nabbed Golden Globe noms.)
Portman plays Nina, a featured dancer—protective layer on the outside, completely frail on the inside—in a prominent ballet company. She’s worked hard over the years and her dreams of being moved into center spotlight finally become realized when the company’s alpha male director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) opts to re-imagine the classic “Swan Lake.”