It’s the feel good film of the year!!
Such is the kind of praise heaped upon Pride, the British film that has been such a success it is not showing in the main stream cinemas – that’s a bit of sarcasm there.
But the thing of it is, Pride is really a good and heartwarming film. Where else can you see Imelda Staunton, know to Harry Potter fans as Dolores Umbridge, rolling around on a bed clutching an all male “magazine” roaring with laughter? That scene alone is worth the price of admission.
The Lighthouse Cuba once again played movie host and once again the session was basically sold out. There was laughter, there were tears, and there was a history lesson rolled in amongst all that as well. What fun.
The film follows a group of G and L (no T) activists (I suppose) who find common cause in their struggle in 80s Thatcherite Britain with the coal miners who are on strike as the Iron Lady clamps down on the British economy. TV footage from that time sets the troubled scene, and then things swoop down from London to a tiny Welsh Village where there conflict really begins.
It’s tempting to dismiss the story as a bit too predictable and “idealised” (straight boys wanting to learn how to dance when one of the activists shows everyone how it drives women wild, for example), except (as I understand it) the story is all (or mainly) actually true. The support group did form and donate substantially to the miners. There was a whole lot of resistance to the support from those people who were offering them aid (and, as one person puts it, possibly AIDS). And, come the end of the strike, the contributions made were recognised by the miners who came out (pardon the pun) to support the Pride marches and to throw their weight in the Labour Party behind law reform.
The performances are all very good, but then it is hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Staunton, Bill Nighy and a whole raft of familiar British faces all doing their best not to look like they are constantly having a great time. For me, Dominic West’s character was one bum note (as it were), not being quite as engaging as I presume it was meant to be, though that’s a small quibble and its sometimes nice when you find there are characters that seem more human in them being not evil or anything but just not likeable. Meanwhile, the main activist, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), quite often struck me as Daffyd (I am not sure if that was what this person was aiming for with his affectation) crossed with Rik from the Young Ones, but that I didn’t mind a bit – I just found it a bit odd.
Verdict: Pride really is the feel good film of the year. It is full of heart warming moments and moments that will make your blood boil, scenes of intolerance and others of understanding. Overall, despite the fact that (spoiler alert!) the miners lost their battle, it shows how everyone involved won (or is winning) the war for equality and fraternity. 9 Bronski Beats out of 10.