Directed by Matthew Warchus. Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine
THE PLOT: During the miner's strike of the 1980s, a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to support the miners and their families, by raising money. When it seems that no-one will accept the money they have raised, they go direct to the people that need it; the residents of a small mining town in Wales. Their presence shakes up some old prejudices, but ultimately creates some unlikely bonds.
THE VERDICT: Based on a true story, PRIDE is a surprisingly touching story of people putting themselves in one another's shoes, and finding a way to work together. The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun and Paddy Considine.
PRIDE does not focus on one person's story, instead, Stephen Beresford's script allows each character to have their moment to shine, weaving their tale into the greater story as a whole. Joe (Freddie Fox) is a young man who hides his identity from his parents, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), an activist who sees that miners and gay people have a surprising amount in common, Gethin (Andrew Scott), a man who has run away from confronting his mother, Cliff (Bill Nighy), a man who has been denying himself for many years. Each actor gives a great performance, and allows the others to shine through. In this way, PRIDE is truly an ensemble film.
Stephen Beresford's script does not focus on the politics of England in the 1980s, other than to make the point that this era was a difficult one for minorities around the country. Instead, the script focuses on the relationships with people, and the true idea of the Labour movement; you support me and I will support you. The dialogue is touching, witty and rather sweet, and while there are moments where the ensemble nature of the film means that some subtleties are left to fall by the wayside, the whole of the film is engaging, funny and warm.
Director Matthew Warchus skilfully combines the stories of the miners and gay activists, while allowing the underlying themes and fears to filter through. The celebratory scenes are a joy, and the emotional ones incredibly touching. That said, however, the film does suffer from some messy pacing; meaning that smaller moments are drawn out, and ones with far reaching and disturbing consequences are almost abandoned.
In all, PRIDE is a touching, engaging and funny film about an unlikely alliance between two groups of people who would not normally come together. The film is a snapshot of Thatcher's Britain, and the human reaction to her austere measures. The pacing is a little messy, and some of the subtleties almost too subtle, but Ben Schnetzer, Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Jessica Gunning and Jonathan West shine through in this huge and delightful ensemble cast.
Review by Brogen Hayes