Film Review: Have a Little ‘Pride’

review

Pride, written by Stephen Beresford; directed by Matthew Warchus. Copyright 2014: seen July 31, 2014.

“There’s nothing worse than a lost cause.”

The movie Pride is about two apparent lost causes, the gay rights movement and the miner strike in the UK in the summer of 1984, and how the two ended up helping each other out.

The movie starts out with Joe (George MacKay), an obviously young and new-to-being-gay man tentatively joining a gay pride parade. He runs into a few people, including Mark (a brilliant Ben Schnetzer), who decides to collect money for the striking miners. In a later scene, Mark explains that he relates to the miners, because they are getting the same harassment and treatment from the media and the police that the LGBT community typically gets.

The plot progresses to where Mark ends up forming a small group of gay people (the LGSM – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) with the purpose of raising funds to help the strikers. Meetings are held in a bookstore owned by Gethin (an absolutely adorable Andrew Scott) and his partner, Jonathan (Dominic West, who steals every scene he’s in).

The movie shows the difficulties the LGSM come across in finding a group willing to take the money from “a bunch of perverts”. Through a series of misunderstandings, they find a small town in Wales that accepts the money.

The inevitable culture clash happens when Dai (Paddy Considine), a representative from the miners, comes to thank the LGSM – and wins over the crowd with a heartfelt speech about help being help, regardless of where it comes from. The clash continues when the LGSM return the favor, traveling to the town to continue their support. The town isn’t all welcoming of “the gays”, presenting some of the inevitable stereotypes as to why – everything from worry of getting AIDS (when AIDS was still a massive unknown illness) to the gay men around children.

But thankfully, it’s not all bad. Hefina (an Imelda Staunton who is hilarious and almost makes you want to forgive her Umbridge) and Cliff (Bill Nighy, doing something different with his voice to the point where he’s almost unrecognizable) are among a small group who accept the members of LGSM, led by Sian (Jessica Gunning).

The two groups eventually become friends. Dominic West rocks in a scene where he shows the ladies how dancing should really be done, and the scenes of the small group of supporters from the town in the London gay scene are hilarious (the scene of them at a BDSM bar, along with a scene where Staunton plays with a dildo are worth the price of admission alone).

There are the inevitable hiccups as the miners deal with the backlash of having “the gays” helping them, and the LGSM deal with their own harassment back in London. But the ending, an emotional heart-felt scene that brought tears to my eyes, shows that the lost causes end up not being quite so lost because of the partnership.

“Have some pride, because life is short,” Mark says to Joe at one of the lowest points of the movie. Pride is a brilliant docu-drama about events in the UK’s history that needs more notice. It’s funny, sweet, and absolutely wonderful.¬†Everyone involved should have pride in the end result.

Pride opens in the US on September 19, 2014.