Pride (2014) Directed by Matthew Warchus. With Ben Schnetzer, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, George MacKay, Monica Dolan, Andrew Scott and Paddy Considine.
Based on the true events of an alliance between a group of gay and lesbian people and a rural community of Welsh miners in 1984, Matthew Warchus’ BAFTA award-winning Pride is testament to the better side of human nature, during one of the most divisive times of recent social unrest in the United Kingdom.
Boasting a broad ensemble cast, the film is a hop, skip and jump of a watch. Stuffed with 80’s pop anthems (obligatory Soft Cell) and a zippy visual freshness, the film fights hard to come across as upbeat, despite the intolerance and hardship many of the characters are forced to endure. It is, in this sense, papering over some of the rougher cracks for the sake of giving its audience a good time. Thanks to an array of likeable performances, though, you shouldn’t have too much of a hard time joining in.
Singling any one performance out from a film so jam-packed with attention-grabbing turns isn’t easy. As a key community organiser, Imelda Staunton is a strong contender with her direct sense of humour and pitbull approach to confrontation. George Mackay, the youngest member of the group LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) serves as an amiable conduit for a narrative subtext about ‘coming out’ and embracing individualism. The truth is, thanks to a fine script by Stephen Beresford, film is overflowing with dialogue, giving quality screen-time to all of the enthusiastic cast, even those on the periphery.
If I have anything negative to say, (and I’m at pains to do so) I’d probably suggest that the overall cheerfulness is a little over-prescribed. This wasn’t an easy time to be gay, or to be a miner; yet the overall tone has a Sunny Delight glow that is perhaps not entirely truthful to the ‘true events’ the film sells itself off on. At times, the people in the film seem to be having a better time than the cast of Mamma Mia. That said, in the spirit of brightening up your day, there are good hearts and minds at work, and the overall message of acceptance, love and solidarity is an important one. 3.5/5