Pride – Review by Frances Winston – In cinemas September 12th
Directed by: Matthew Warchus
Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Joseph Gilgun, Freddie Fox, Paddy Considine, Faye Marsay, Jessie Cave, Julie Barclay as Pam
A group called the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) rally round to raise funds and awareness for striking miners. It might sound like a far fetched premise but this tale is actually based on real events that occurred back in 1984 when a few members of the LGBTQ community felt they could relate to the plightof the disenfranchised and victimised miners and vowed to help them. However the 80s were still somewhat dark days for the community with prejudice rife and AIDs taking a stranglehold. Hence they struggle to get the mining unions to accept their contribution as they worry about being associated with a gay group. Undeterred they decide to approach the miners directly and contact a small Welsh mining village that has been badly affected. Although a couple of people in the village are grateful for the support it takes longer to win around others who struggle with their prejudice and beliefs before learning that really we are all just the same underneath leading to a fruitful and rewarding relationship between the two communities.
Given that this film deals with a difficult period for both sides it is amazing how much humour there is in this movie. However underlying all this humour is pathos. Both communities are struggling in ways that are more similar than you would imagine but the one thing they have in spades in Pride – hence the title.
This is never patronising or condescending to either side. There are no caricatures here – rather well rounded portrayals of many aspects of humanity and all the cast do an amazing job giving deep and often moving performances. Special mention should go to Ireland’s own Andrew Scott who plays a gay character for the first time in his career after coming out himself earlier this year. Paddy Considine and Bill Nighy are fabulous as stoic members of the mining community who embrace the newcomers even as they find their whole way of life threatened. Meanwhile Dominic West is amazing and completely embraces the role of a somewhat queeny actor and performs one of the funniest and best dance routines ever committed to screen (and yes he really can move!)
This is uplifting, heart-warming, inspiring and really good fun despite the serious subject matter. It really shows what can be achieved when opposing communities work together and it will inspire you to adopt a cause of your own. Never sensationalist this is character driven and just lets the human interaction tell the tale.
With shades of Billy Elliot there is no reason why this couldn’t become a classic and rightly so and as a bonus the 80s soundtrack contains some classic anthems and will have you tapping your feet and singing along.