tells the story of ‘Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners‘; a real activist movement who came out in support of the miners during the 1984-1985 strike.
The lesbian & gay community felt a kinship with the miners due to having dealt with a similar kind of oppression from the Thatcher government, the tabloids and authorities such as the police. However; the group met opposition from homophobic views held by the miners movement themselves, which led them to bypass the unions and get their donations directly to affected small towns in the South Wales valleys (the Dulais Valley) as they attempted to overcome the prejudice and stereotypes that had existed.
The film was directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford for UK based Calamity Films; with UK distribution from Pathé and BBC Films and features an incredible ensemble cast including Ben Schetzer, Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, George MacKay and Paddy Constantine. It’s out in select UK cinemas Friday, September 12th.
This film has the same feel-good, small town charm as previous films on the subject such as Brassed Off (1996); it feels like a warm glass of milk (but with a whiskey chaser). It’s incredibly bright and uplifting; so much so that it pulls off the double trick of re-creating that time period while also making the audience feel like this could be happening Today. It’s ‘in your face’; but not to the point where it would easily offend many.
There is a downside to this approach; the films darker moments are largely outweighed by the humour and incredibly positive momentum. For example, the AIDS crisis that was occurring in the UK at the time gets only a cursory mention so as not to distract from the films main focus. Some common gay & welsh stereotypes are also shown here.
We initially mistook Bill Nighy as gratuitous star casting but he pulls off a masterful performance as repressed and conflicted miner Cliff; who experiences probably the largest character arc of the whole cast. There are brilliant, authentic performances from the entire ensemble cast and we found the women characters were particularly well developed as well as the authentic gay experiences of the male characters.
The screenplay and acting is supported by an uplifting score; consisting mostly of music carefully selected from the time and incredibly bright and bold cinematography. The film uses sequences including everything from characters dancing on tables to making sandwiches but makes these all seem incredibly compelling. We did feel the use of music was a little too much at times though.
Our Verdict – A Must See. The film received a round of applause at the small preview screening we attended in South Wales; and rightly so.
Pride (2014) – Out in UK cinemas Friday 12th Sept
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