By: Calamity Films
Seen on: September 14
Pride has been receiving a lot of positive and raving reviews since it came out, and I can’t help but join in. It is funny, light-hearted, warm, and feel-good. For a film about such serious and heavy subjects, the filmmakers did a good job of keeping the audience interested and connected rather than throwing a lot of drama at them.
They did this by making the people the heart of the story, instead of the situation. Pride is a film about the miner’s strike in the early 80s in Wales, and the unexpected support they get from a group of gay and lesbian youngsters from London. On the surface it seems like an unlikely connection, but in the 80s gay rights weren’t what they are today and the gay community knew what it was like to be treated like shit by police. The Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners group was born.
The people of LGSM are the heart of the story. Joe, a closeted gay boy discovering the gay community; Mark, a young gay boy fighting for his rights; Gethin, a gay bookshop owner who got kicked out and disowned by his mum; Dai, a Welsh miner and leader of the strike; Sian, a Welsh woman fighting for acceptance and support; Cliff and Hefina, a Welsh couple in the heart of the strike, but also keeping a big secret; Plus a whole host of other characters that the audience laughs with, cries with, and fights with.
With that many characters it’s not easy to keep things simple and easy to follow, but the film doesn’t ever become confusing. However, and this is where one of my two points of critique come in, that many story lines and characters does leave you wanting more. There is only so much time in the one film and not everything can be fully explored obviously, but some things just really needed more room to breathe and settle. I felt like I had seen one story line from beginning to end at the end of the film, but about five more were left either unfinished or just not told completely. Which is a shame, because each story line deserved more time and attention, they were all equally interesting.
My second point of critique is not really critique. I am not a UK native, so to me the miner’s strike wasn’t something I really knew about. I know of Thatcher, but not enough to really claim I know what she stood for and did. This made it so there were certain references and situations that didn’t mean anything to me when the rest of the cinema laughed or cringed or hissed. I felt like I was missing something at times. It being a UK film directed specifically at UK audiences, this is not something the film could have improved on, but I did want to highlight this as something to keep in mind when watching this film.
(For example, it wasn’t all that clear to me that when the miners went back to work that was actually a cold, hard loss on their end. I had no idea what had actually happened for them to go back to work and this wasn’t explained. I could sort of understand it, but that did take me out of the narrative for a few minutes.)
All of this being said though, Pride is a wonderfully funny and warm film that leaves you with a smile and a tear. But mostly you just want to get up and fight with them. All of them. You want to dance with them at the Electric Ballroom, stand with them collecting money, wave flags with them at marches and strikes, and sit in Gethin’s back room and plan the next fundraiser.
Pride is a lovely film that both entertains and makes you think. We have it good these days, even though gay bashing is still a thing and strikes are still necessary to open the eyes of our government sometimes. People like Joe and Mark and Dai have fought for that and we should all be thankful. Watch Pride, be entertained, and then raise your glass to each and every one of these people. Because they are all heroes.