Pride is an emotionally resonant and politically poignant film in these times of disunion, when no one knows their neighbour and ‘solidarity’ has become a four letter word. It’s a powerful piece uncovering the little known true story of the gay community supporting the striking miners simply because those miners were being vilified by the same factions as the gays. The film places its characters neatly into groups: the gays, the miners and the Welsh (with some overlap). The film’s strength is in how well its characters resonate outside of their factions whilst remaining firmly part of their group during this time when Britain was torn and sides had to be taken so group identity carried immeasurable weight. Humour is abound, thanks to joyous performances from a wealth of British talent: Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine are all among the glowing ensemble, plus an incredible but enormously understated role from Bill Nighy who makes as much of a statement in his softness and silence as Dominic West bamboozles on the dance floor.
It’s directed by Matthew Warchus, best known for his delightful stage direction of Matilda. He’s clearly a man who understands struggles against power, adding energy and exuberance to his characters but also including a single, standout musical number featuring a traditional Welsh song begun by the women in a community hall to illustrate their acceptance and gratitude for the gay group’s generosity and kinship. It’s an absolutely beautiful, quiet moment. The film’s not completely perfect, perhaps the miners go from shunning to accepting the gay community into their town too hastily but that doesn’t prevent Pride from parading gallantly alongside British classic such as The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and Made in Dagenham – not only important politically but carrying with it a great sense of humour, with just the right amount of sentimentality. It’s a film about confidence and courage, reminding people we’re stronger working together for a common cause, sentiments worth remembering.
Pride is out now in the UK. Running time 120 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).
Review by David Rank