Jan 6, 2015

Movie Review: Pride [2014]

Lesbians and Gays Support Miners!

This is not a fiction or product of some creative mind, it's all the nearest history of the Great Britain. During the British Miner's strike in 1984, a group of lesbian and gay activists decided to raise some money to help families of those affected by the strike. Having decided so, they contacted to The National Union of Mineworkers - the organizers of almost two year strike - and suggested their full support. However, the Union declined it due to the union's worries about being openly associated with a gay group. So the activists decided to directly take their donations to Onllwyn - a small mining village in Wales. This is considered to be the birth of organization Lesbians and Gays Support Miners (LGSM) that finally managed to help affected citizens recover from this long running problem.

This is the 80s, when homophobia in Britain is still real and well supported. But the movie opens and ends with two gay prides, where the first one coincides with closeted young boy's birthday, he's name is Joe (George MacKay) and it's his first ever march. This is where he meets Mark (Ben Schnetzer) and his friends, who genuinely believe that they can do some good for miners in Wales. Uniting in a group of several people, they decide to meet Dai (Paddy Considine), who unofficially represents the workers. This is where the story of solidarity, community and inner fears starts. 
Pride genuinely feels so good, it's funny, delightful with lots of heart in it. It got everything one could ask from a good comedy: British humor, honesty and a lot laughs. The primary reason why this film works is its amazing cast of many unfamiliar and some familiar faces, like Andrew Scott, who plays a boyfriend of Dominic West's character Jonathan. But they all are brilliant as a whole. Stephen Beresford's screenplay is very smart, witty, focusing on many things, including AIDS panic, characters personal life and social issues, that definitely can make a lot people think. While it may sound a bit dramatic, Pride does not suffer from the lack of funny moments and by funny I mean hilarious to tears. Each scene which includes the old ladies from Onllwyn can make anyone cry with laughter, because the way they deal with first encounter with "actual" gay and lesbian people is just devastatingly joyful.
This is in fact how you feel for most of the film
Beresford manages to demonstrate the difference between generations by making old local folks meet the young Londoners and the way they discover each other is so entertaining that you never feel the length of almost two hours. It has number of quotable lines, that are very natural and exemplary comic (my favorite - "Where are my Lesbians"). Director Matthew Warchus, on the other hand, managed to turn a very good screenplay and great cast into most adorable movie this year. 

Film has some uniquely memorable moments. For instance, Jonathan's first dance in Wales, which made him super popular even among mine workers, who despised LGSM members before. Or the ladies visiting gay clubs, fetish clubs for the first time or them finding dildo and porn journals in Gethin's room. And if you think that this is not funny on paper, then you should definitely see Pride. The art of this film is that it makes small moments exceptionally haunting.
As I said before, the cast works perfectly as a whole. There are no single outstandingly good performances, that can be memorable for a long time, but everyone doing their job is what makes a good cast.

Considering all above said, Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy/Musical did not come as a surprise for me. Pride can absolutely be deserving nominee for Original Screenplay at Oscars and I won't whimper if it takes some other film's node in this category.  



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