DVD Review – Pride3 min read
Pride is an uplifting true story set in the midst of the UK mining strikes of 1984. At this time, the gay rights movement was picking up momentum, however gay activists were experiencing the same kind of discrimination as the protesting miners, including police bullying and abuse from the general public. Tired of the constant mistreatment, Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) came up with the idea to start LGSM – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – in attempt to bridge the gap between the two groups and form one force against discrimination in the UK. But despite raising money and awareness of the miner’s cause, the group could find no mining communities who would accept their support, concerned of the “image” it would portray to associate miners with gay rights. That is, until they found Onllwyn, a tiny mining town in Wales with whom they managed to forge a slightly unorthodox yet incredibly successful symbiosis.
This historical comedy drama begins its story with Joe (George MacKay), a 20-year-old gay man who is yet to come out to his parents. While Joe is a fictional character made just for the film, he acts as a guide for the audience. We see most of the events through his eyes as he joins LGSM, comes to terms with his sexuality and discovers what it means to be proud of who you are. The film explores so many themes like this; tolerance, standing up for what you believe, and the power that just one person has to make change, while also exposing the darker side of being part of a minority. Yet the film manages to strike a great balance between the comedy and the drama, and never gets bogged down in the tragic side of things, instead opting for a more inspirational story that will definitely infect you with a serious case of the warm-and-fuzzies.
The only issue with creating an inspiring film based on a true story such as this, is that there will always be cliches. There were multiple scenes throughout the movie when the orchestra would swell and large crowds of people would cheer, scenes that were almost too feel-good to be true. Its these moments that detract somewhat from the realistic aspect of the plot, however they do add to its the comedic and joyous nature. And that’s what the film is all about: pride. Its a celebration of being true to who you are and what you do and not letting anyone bring you down.
Directed by Matthew Warchus, this is a hugely enjoyable film to watch that pieces together historical footage from the 1984 mining strikes and an awesome 1980s soundtrack with colourful and – when the Welsh countryside is concerned – breathtaking cinematography. While not every character is based on a figure from the true story, this collection of charismatic people is what drives the film and every character gets their time to shine and develop, a real accomplishment considering just how many there actually are in the film. Performances across the board were excellent, with particular mention to Dominic West as Jonathan, the eldest and most flamboyant member of LGSM, Faye Marsay as Steph, a Lesbian punk who acts as mother hen to the rest of the group, Jessica Gunning as Sian, the first Onllwyn villager to embrace LGSM, as well as British acting royalty Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton.
All up, Pride is a beautiful, engaging and ultimately moving story that will make you want to jump out of your seat, wave around a flag and rally for the cause. While some aspects of the plot have been fictionalised for a more exciting story, the major points remain historically accurate, leaving you to consider just how much the world has changed in a mere 30 years.
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