New reviews, interviews, and features via RSS or Email.

Sponsored Links


(2014) *** R
120 min. . Directors: Matthew Warchus, Garianno Lorenzo. Cast: Dominic West, Ben Schnetzer, Abram Rooney, Georges St-Pierre, Mark Hominick, Kevin James.

/content/films/4730/1.jpgBedfellows don't get much stranger than they did in the U.K. during the mid-eighties coal-miners' strike. In telling the little-known story of how the the National Union of Mineworkers got a lift from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, Matthew Warchus' Pride pays heartwarming testament to the flexibility of solidarity.

Set during a one-year period beginning in the summer of 1984, Pride traces how restless London gays and lesbians expand their social protest to embrace the struggles of the striking miners against Maggie Thatcher's austerity measures. Young Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer in a breakthrough role) spearheads the gay-and-lesbian collective (despite a fair amount of apathy and antipathy amongst his peers), which raises money and awareness to support the striking miners and their families.

Eventually, the gay group makes a tentative connection with a South Wales mining community, whose representative (Paddy Considine) admirably steps onto the stage of a gay bar to express his thanks with a gently moving speech. Soon, LGSM is making trips to South Wales, where they meet more union organizers (including those played by veteran thesps Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton) and work to overcome discrimination and prove that the underdogs have more that binds them than divides them.

Pride fits into the popular genre of post-industrial "soft" realist films first heralded by a trio of late-nineties British films: Brassed Off (1996), The Full Monty (1997) and Billy Elliot (2000). Earnest crisis gives weight to an essentially optimistic and cheery vision of overcoming through spirit and self-expression and community. When Pride skews toward the self-consciously goofy (low point: Staunton waving around a red dildo over a gay porn mag), it briefly misses the mark, but at least as often, there's an affecting moment (a gay first-kiss scene, for example) that rings true.

Screenwriter Stephen Beresford and Tony-award-winning director Warchus ably tell the true story, despite some awkwardness in the choice to frontload the composite character of Joe (George MacKay), a kind of Every(gay)boy struggling with coming out and troubleshooting his family while coming into his own as an activist. The strong ensemble (including Dominic West and Andrew Scott as a touchingly caring couple) helps Pride to keep a steady heartbeat from the local union hall get-togethers through the "Pits and Perverts" benefit concert, right up to the no-dry-eye-in-the-house finale.

Share/bookmark: Digg Facebook Fark Furl Google Bookmarks Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo! My Web Permalink Permalink
Sponsored Links