You will want to go out and join a Pride march after seeing this – 4/5
I love a good heartwarming film marketed towards the older generation. And I especially love a heartwarming film with subversive topics that might surprise some of the older generation that goes to see it (see the “Harold, they’re lesbians” meme from last year’s Carol).
Pride features two of British’s most beloved older British actors Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy who have front position on Pride’s promotional poster. Although they of course are impeccable as two of the Welsh villagers who accept the gay and lesbian group, they are not the main characters. The film divides the protagonist role between Joe “Bromley” (George MacKay), a polite young man only just coming to terms with his sexuality, and Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer), outwardly gay and real life Irish man who started the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film follows the group as it raises money for the Welsh miners on strike in protest of pit closures by the Thatcher government in 1984. However the hard part is getting the homophobic miners to accept the money. One village decides to welcome them but not without some resistance from some of the residences.
Pride doesn’t waste any time getting straight into the story and with a huge cast of very strong actors all playing very individual characters, the film does a great job of introducing them with the show not tell method to make you care about them very much very early on. It is also incredibly funny very much in the vein of light British humour. Basically this film is a great time except for the bits where it isn’t and it becomes incredibly heartwrenching due to the appalling treatment both the gays and lesbians and the miners faced from to the conservative government and society in general. Serious topics are not shied away from and are presented with truth and realism such as the AIDS epidemic, Bromley coming out to his parents and the Welsh miners at risk of losing their whole livelihood with the lit closures. All the actors are spot on but a particular shoutout to Ben Schnetzer fooling me into wondering who this Irish actor was when he’s actually American and not camp at all. The film did start to drag during the second half of the two hours due to extended scenes of Welsh people being introduced to gay bars which just overly repeated the “look how cute, conservative Welsh villagers and gay people getting along” thing. I think the filmmakers love of their characters took over their editing sense at that point. But for the most part Pride is a greatly enjoyable while shedding light on a fascinating true story and offering much needed diversity to the film industry. The film’s finale at an LGBTQ pride march with both groups coming together perfectly summarised a film that is beautiful, touching, joyful and truly fills you with pride.
Director: Matthew Warchus
Screenplay: Stephen Beresford
Starring: Ben Schnetzer, George McKay, Faye Marsay, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Paddy Considine
Length: 2 hours