It’s incredibly hard to make a film about the miners’ strike in the 80s without taking a side on the issue, and the best films are those that vow to tell their stories, even if they learn incredibly hard on one side of the political spectrum, as sincerely and as full of heart as possible. Both of these things can definitely be said about ‘Pride’, a film that is undoubtedly on one particular side, namely that of the miners, championing the unlikely alliance between them and the lesbian and gay group that comes round to their cause, but never patronises or gets too didactic as to be unbearable, ensuring that it connects and doesn’t feel distant enough for that preachy dynamic to be a problem, resonating deeply emotionally instead.
The performances are universally great too as the ensemble cast shines, from Bill Nighy to Andrew Scott and Imelda Staunton, everyone is on top form, working brilliantly together as the different dynamics are pushed and explored with plenty of humour and a good degree of poignancy. The younger cast, featuring the likes of George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer also do a very good job and aren’t at all intimidated by their more experienced, bigger name co-stars.
It’s hard at times to believe that the film is a true story, and while writer Stephen Beresford and director Matthew Warchus will no doubt have utilised some artistic licence, it stays true to the spirit of solidarity that those fateful moments inspire, always being respectful and yet managing to sprinkle large moments of humour along with moments that carry huge emotional weight, whether it’s acceptance where you didn’t expect to find any or the discovery of silver linings in what may look to be a defeat.
‘Pride’ is a film full of unassuming but brilliant performances that engages from start to finish. There’s never a dull moment and whilst it definitely plays to pull the heart-strings and promotes an almost fairy-tale like camaraderie it’s easy to be cynical about these things, and we should remember that the events in the film generally really happened, so maybe sometimes fairy tales do exist. Yes, it seeks to please, but boy does it succeed and director Matthew Warchus does a great job of ensuring that every frame is working towards that end. A passionate British film whose ilk we may have thought were confined to the history books following all the negativity at the start of the year, so it’s nice to know that they’re still around, as brave and unapologetic as ever.
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