Pride is a British film based on a really interesting moment in the nineteen eighties. During the coal miner strikes of 1982, a young gay man in London founded Gays & Lesbians Support the Miners. The oddity of this alliance is obvious on its face (“Because the miners have always come to our aid?” one gay character queries sarcastically when confronted with the idea). But this tale of young, urban gays and rough-and-tumble, rural Welsh coal miners coming together is an absolute marvel. It’s a film that could easily have become both cheesy and pretentious, but the film is neither; it manages to simply be a really compelling, engaging and exuberant story about disparate people coming together. It dodges every bullet that could have taken it down. Partly this is due to the script, which assembles a huge cast of characters, well into the double digits, and yet manages to somehow give all of them compelling character arcs; this isn’t just a film about two groups – it’s very definitely about the people that make up those two groups. The script even dares to give the bigoted villager some depth; there’s a wonderful scene where we see her briefly waver in her homophobic stance and we start to understand in that moment just what’s behind her stubbornness and it makes her a more sympathetic character and less a cardboard villain. And credit to the cast, which is dead perfect to a man/woman. Ben Schnetzer’s performance as Mark Ashton, the young, naïve, dead earnest organizer of GLSM is a genuinely star-making one. I hope his star rises; I really want to see him in other things after this magnificent turn. Paddy Considine is a joy as a warm-hearted, awkward villager. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton give reliably crusty, human performances as villagers as well. Dominic West is magnificent as a flamboyant elder statesman of GLSM. And I have to give serious praise to Russell Tovey who shows up in only one brief scene as a gay man who’s just received an AIDS diagnosis; it’s a tiny, tiny part, but he’s absolutely brilliant, a perfect example of making a small part big. I could go on through the cast list and not hit a bad performance, but in short, this is a gloriously entertaining, genuinely inspiring, deeply moving film. It may sound corny, but this is a wonderful movie. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – unlikely alliance of gays and coalminers makes for a witty, warm-hearted, sincere film that genuinely inspires without ever condescending or veering into insipid or cheesy territory. 4 stars.