Through a combination of nostalgia and hope, Pride is the ultimate feel good movie. This thoroughly British film is the antithesis of the Hollywood blockbuster.
Incredibly this amazing film of the relationship between a mining community in South Wales and lesbians and gays in London is based on a true story. In 1984 a group of lesbian and gay people raised funds in support of the Miners’ Strike and they then gave the money directly to a Welsh mining community. The relationship between the two communities is altered irrevocably for the good. Both communities have misgivings about each other but this film shows the benefits of the relationship that develops between them.
The film beautifully evokes the mid-eighties: the music; the fashion and even the g-plan furniture; the fact that for gay men under 21, relationships were illegal; it transports me back to the 1980s. As a lesbian living in Sheffield at that time I went to women’s discos where buckets were circulated in support of the miners, but we had local pits where the money could easily be distributed. The funds raised by lesbians and gays in London were more difficult to deliver to the appropriate people.
The story is one of what can be achieved by solidarity, something we seem to have forgotten these days. At the end of the screening at the Showroom in Sheffield the audience applauded; something I have never witnessed before at a general filming that gives an indication of what a good film this is. I spent most of the film laughing or crying in equal measure.
Each character is larger than life and crucial to the storyline and the well-crafted script. The film is packed full of our favourite actors: Bill Nighy with his surprisingly credible Welsh accent; Imelda Staunton excelling herself as the down to earth Welsh stalwart; why have I never seen Ben Schetzer before? Here he is the gay activist Mark leading the endeavour and setting up LGSM (Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners).
One of the highlights of the film is Dominic West’s dancing to the disco hit Shame, Shame, Shame in the Miner’s Welfare Club that leaves everyone stunned. Another is the sweeping land and seascapes, including iconic shots of the Severn Bridge as the crossing point between worlds.
But ultimately this fabulous film leaves a bitter sweet taste in the mouth as the miners were defeated and the communities had the heart torn out of them. This is a part of our country’s history that we all need to know about and apart from some swearing and the odd dildo, I am at a loss to see what justifies the 15 certificate?