Some events in history will always lend themselves naturally to great stories. Wars and conflicts obviously but also events closer to home for some people. The British Miners’ Strike of the 80’s has already lent itself well to a great British film with Billy Elliot but there are plenty of other stories to tell. One such great story is Pride.
Pride is another movie where the Miners’ Strike is actually the background event, setting the scene to showcase a struggle for another group of people in the 80s, homosexuals. The story is a true event, based on the Gay and Lesbians support the Miners campaign group who faced opposition even though they were trying to help and raise money for a group in desperate need.
It is really a dramatic comedy about a clashing of cultures and these are the funniest moments in the movie. First seeing the homosexuals in the small Welsh village community and how they “integrate” themselves with their shared experience of police brutality and then a great love of dance. It offers fantastic comedy without being stereotypical or judgemental.
The second clash is when the miners decide to try the gay scene, particularly the older woman of the Welsh village. This is when it becomes a bit more of a farce and although I’m sure it is “based on true events,” there will always be a doubt on woman over sixty in a leather-fetish gay club.
You can overlook some of the more silly moments when the cast deliver the laughs so well. You can tell the movie has some credibility to it when it boasts a cast that include Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine. Each of these actors can deliver a great comedic line with fantastic timing and throw themselves into the Welsh Miners lives.
On the GLSM side are also an able cast, which is dominated by a brilliantly camp Dominic West who manages to steal every scene he is in and lights the screen up from the moment he is introduced. Alongside Andrew Scott, famous as Sherlock’s Moriarty and Joseph Gilgun, who is effortlessly funny, the comedy aspect of the story is taken care of.
It has a tinge of drama throughout and that is handled carefully and effectively too. A film about homosexuality in the 80s covers topics such as violence, bigotry and an emerging Aids crises. These are focused on with great dramatic performances, led by central roles for George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer.
If anything, there is so much to cover alongside the main focus of the Miners and GLSM joining together that some of the heavier, often more interesting topics don’t quite get the coverage and attention they deserve. A film about the Aids crises or the treatment of homosexuals in the 80s has probably been done but there was plenty of that message that could have been delivered here too.
It doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a great dramatic comedy and another example of the grittier, heavy but funny movie that Britain seems to do better than anyone else.
Overall, Pride is a great mix of culture clash comedy and serious drama centered around a very interesting and still controversial part of British history. The excellent cast balance the drama and comedy excellently and although it fails to deliver in some topics it tries to cover, the story will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
Rating – 4.5
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