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Pride – Review

Pride Review
Pride Review
Pride Review


Release Date: 12th September 2014
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Ben Schnetzer - George MacKay - Imelda Staunton - Dominic West



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Posted December 29, 2014 by

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Pride Review:

Surprise Golden Globe nominee, ‘Pride’ is just the kind of feel-good movie you want to bring home this festive season.

Set during a time of hardship and strife, it’s a reminder of humanity’s more enduring trait – showing solidarity.

It’s 1984, and the miners’ strike continues against the Government’s closure of pits. In London, Mark Ashton hears about the strike and decides to campaign for the miners. His reasoning, because they’re a group of people being marginalised and bullied – a familiar story for Mark and his friends. Mark is gay, at a time when homosexuality was derided by society.

After a great deal of convincing, Mark gets some people on board with his plan, including closeted aspiring chef Joe (MacKay), Mike (Joseph Gilgun), Jeff (Freddie Fox, bookshop owner Gethin (Andrew Scott), Gethin’s unwilling partner Jonathan (Dominic West) and the sole Lesbian of the group, Steph (Faye Marsay). Together they form the society LGSM – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Fundraising is tough but they do a fabulous job. Except there’s another hiccup in the road. Who do they distribute the money to?

Eventually, a quaint little town in Wales takes them up on their offer, in no small part to vivacious home-maker, Sian (Jessica Gunning), who convinces her council to just invite the group instead of discussing their feelings about the group’s lifestyle.

The LGSM group’s departure to and subsequent arrival in Wales is fraught with angst and emotions. But, the true story lies in their ability to wake up and win over the little town and to play a significant part in history.

There’s a lot to love about a film that is so bright and hopeful in a world torn apart by bigotry and prejudice. Some of the attitudes portrayed in this film live on today, which is a shame, considering the events in ‘Pride’ took place 20 years ago.

Like most films, ‘Pride’ is not a 100% accurate. The film is completely devoid of characters of colour, which is startling given the upbeat stats of representation in films (especially in British cinema). I’m pretty sure this was not due to how period-specific the story is either.

The events of the film have also come under criticism. I have only a passing knowledge of the miners’ strike, but I do know of its devastating effects on the entire community. How big a role the real LGSM had on the miners, we cannot gauge from this film.

However, despite being a person of colour, I did not lack in enjoying this film. Perhaps it was because I was just so taken with Jessica Gunning’s character Sian. She was a refreshingly outspoken, funny and positive character. She was welcoming, relatable and yet capable. The fact that the real person herself had an interesting life arc makes me wonder why Hollywood (and films in general) find it so hard to write fascinating and strong female characters. History is full of them.

Ben Schnetzer and George MacKay carry the majority of the film on their shoulders, and they’re both adept at subtly portraying their characters’ emotions. The one person who took me by surprise was Dominic West. He usually comes across as very one-toned, but here he adds pathos as well as energy to his performance. Everyone’s going to be talking about his moves for some time to come. Andrew Scott is likely to be the biggest draw for many viewers, but he doesn’t have that much screen time. When he is on screen, however, he’s brilliant and emotive.

What worked well for this film was that it continued to add pathos and emotion to circumstances we were not privy to. Gethin is tearful when arriving in Wales, and you feel for him, though you don’t know (but can guess) the reason behind it. There’s another bizarre scene near the end with Mark, which is ominous but has no preamble. Yet, it makes sense, because allusions to its history have already been made.

Some may call it clichéd, but what’s been done to death today, was brand new back in the ‘80s. I really loved the film, even in its darker moments. It doesn’t wallow in self-pity. It derives so much from its humour. ‘Pride’ is a celebration. It celebrates humanity, and it celebrates differences. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly fun.


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Lestat de Lioncourt
Random Thoughts – Lestat’s Blog
Freelance Contributor

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