It’s 1984, and UK miners are on strike. All of a sudden, they get support from a rather unexpected group – and while the money is needed, not everyone approves of the new friendship with the gay community.
Based on the events during the UK miner’s strike that took place in 1984-85, the film tells the story of a small homosexual community that decides to collect money for the miners, who are just as oppressed by the government as they themselves normally are. Together, they form the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – but while their intentions are good, they have trouble getting the money to the right people, considering the prejudices and hostility that they must face. And so the struggle for acceptance from a rather unusual side begins – but it’s a struggle for much more.
A fun ride – mostly
Pride is a highly emotional and funny movie: touching upon themes such as death and friendship, bigotry and tolerance, freedom and oppression, it pulls the viewer in for some inspiring two hours. Whether it is homosexuals that have trouble coming out to their family or community, or the deeply troubled miners who want nothing more than to help their community and the homosexuals that most come to accept as their extended community, you’ll get your fair share of sympathies – and dislikes. It is, indeed, a struggle for the very ‘masculine’ and traditional mining community to accept those fellows that come with money from London, and after being turned away over and over again from the PR side of the strike, LGSM finally finds a community that appears to be more accepting: a small mining village in Wales, a village that couldn’t be more surprised at their new supposed friends. But against all odds, an emotional and successful alliance is formed, in which both sides get to learn a lot from the other one.
Colourful characters – literally
Yes, the film does play with clichés and stereotypes, in both affirming some and correcting others. Especially LGSM turns out to be a bright, colourful, and fun-loving community, but one that also takes their duties and promises seriously – even though technically it’s not their struggle, they constantly work on bringing new and unconventional ideas to the discussion table, and their enthusiasm helps fuel the mining community in their activism, too. The mining community is at first stereotypically ‘masculine’, and many reject the idea of accepting help from the homosexual community, especially if word comes out – they’re all worried about the image that this alliance creates for them, and more than anything, they fear to be ridiculed. In a way, though, despite the characters being so colourful and engaging, they do appear a little two-dimensional at times: in my opinion, LGSM’s members are truly mainly characterised through their sexual orientation, and sadly, the film tends not to go deeper except for a few instances. While this is somewhat understandable within the scope of the film, it seems at times a bit detrimental to the film’s message.
Straightforward but refreshing characters
While there are always some homophobic people who don’t approve in those communities, the driving forces in forming the alliance are more accepting than expected, and their enthusiasm is shared with the audience through the supreme acting the film offers – on the Welsh side in particular, we get for instance Hefina (Imelda Staunton), who leads the miner’s committee group and is not embarrassed to speak her mind; the way that she tends to mother over everyone, LGSM and miners alike, all while gleefully exploring and expanding her attitudes, is both hilarious and inspirational. Likewise amazing, Bill Nighy portrays shy Cliff in a stunningly downplayed performance, with trouble speaking up for himself and his people even though he does mean well – truthfully, you’ll just want to hug him constantly. And if that isn’t enough for you, you’ll find plenty of other brilliant British acting talents to keep you occupied.
Inspiring but not sappy
Pride truly is a feel-good film, a joyous experience for everyone, with heart-warming characters to lead the way. It’s about establishing a community, expanding your horizon, fighting for your rights, being accepted for who you are; and the bond created between the two groups is incredibly touching. Needless to say, it’s a definite recommendation right here – I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.