Film Review: Pride (UK, 2014)

Pride film still

Based on a true story, it’s 1984 and mining communities across Britain are in crisis. The Thatcher government had announced mass pit closures and thousands of miners would lose their jobs. As a result, the miners went on a yearlong strike causing many families to struggle financially. Seeing similarities between this struggle and the one of their own community, a group of gays and lesbians from London decided to raise money to support the miners.

Led by Northern Irish activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer), they formed Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) and began raising funds. After struggling to find a town willing to accept their help, they randomly selected a number from the phone book and thus began the start of a wonderful friendship between some London gays and lesbians and a small Welsh mining village

The LGSM group consists of some amazing characters including a young closeted male named Joe (George MacKay), aging flamboyant actor Jonathan (Dominic West), Welsh bookshop owner Gethin (Andrew Scott) and the sole lesbian Steph (Faye Marsay). Of course, the group expands over time but these core members are the focus of the movie.

Once they arrive in the Welsh village, the LGSM are met by some equally amazing characters. The feisty matriarch Hefina (Imelda Staunton), the quiet gentleman Cliff (Bill Nighy) and the young housewife and mother Sian (Jessica Gunning) to name a few. With these locals on their side, they slowly gain the trust of the entire village and beautiful and lasting friendships are formed.

Pride deals with some very serious issues but it does so with genuine sensitivity. Of course, it’s all mostly given a warm and fuzzy cuddle but if this were a politically motivated movie, I feel the story would never have been told and it’s the telling that is important here. These were dangerous times for the miners, gays and lesbians alike and to find these unexpected friendships must have been just wonderful for all involved.

As Dai (Paddy Considine) notes during a speech in a gay bar one evening “When you’re in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed… well that’s the best feeling in the world.” And that about sums it up.

This is the feel-good movie of the year. It was warm and touching, funny and serious. You will laugh out loud and you may even shed a tear or two. It’s a wonderful, gorgeous movie that I would recommend to anyone.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Pride was released nationally today.

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