6th October 2014

‘Pride’ is a film that is really hard not to love. Like a small, perfectly formed teddy bear, it’s soft and cuddly with just the right amount of truth and justice to make for compelling viewing. The film is based on a true story about a lesbian/gay group’s support of the 80’s Miners’ Strike (Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners). The historic events are interesting in and of themselves and worth exploring further. If your curiosity is piqued by the film, there’s an archive of the group’s work at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, England.

There’s not much to dislike here. The characters feel a little stereotyped, and the miner’s propensity to launch into song pushes the boundaries of believability. But strong performances from an excellent ensemble cast (including Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton & Dominic West) ground the characters enough to make these small quibbles. Tonally, ‘Pride’ feels similar to ‘The Full Monty‘, so if you liked that film, you’ll probably like this.

In the film, ‘the left‘ wins a significant battle, but you could argue that they lose the over-all war. Since then, many social / cultural issues have been resolved in the left’s favour, whereas economic issues have not. Reagan and Thatcher won that fight. Inequality has increased and the state’s collective powers have been worn away. The film brings these ideas out in sharp relief and made me question why people don’t engage with politics like they used to. Especially in the UK (the recent kerfuffle over Scottish Independence aside). Consequently, the larger themes; that we can achieve more together and that it is possible to over-throw the status-quo, feel so dated now it’s heartbreaking. As a result, the film (despite its feel-good intentions) leaves a depressing residue behind.

Still, in my view, it is one of the best films to come out of the UK this year.  So if you don’t mind seeing new releases at the end of their run, definitely check it out. And for those of you who are stateside, ‘Pride’ had a limited release in art cinemas but is due to expand into larger theaters from October 10th.


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