In the summer of 1984, a group of gay rights activists formed an unlikely alliance with a Welsh mining village in a bid to express their solidarity with the National Union of Mineworkers.
In a time where intolerance seems to be on the rise, Matthew Warchus’ Pride, based on the original screenplay by Stephen Beresford, tells a remarkable true story of the good people can achieve when their differences are cast aside.
The film opens to Pete Seeger’s Solidarity Forever played over a series of footage from the 1980s miner’s strike. A large red banner reading ‘Thatcher Out’ is then seen dangling from the window of a tower block and we’re soon whisked into the midst of London’s Gay Pride Parade.
This opening sequence captures Pride’s representation of the struggles faced by the miners and the gay community and reflects the clever blend of comedy and drama present throughout the film. For every laugh there is a sobering reminder of the realities of the 1980s – be it the injustice inflicted on the miners or the emergence of the AIDS epidemic. Yet for each of these emotional moments, the audience never disconnects from the inspirational story unfolding before us.
Every member of Pride’s star-studded cast are on top form here. The ever wonderful Paddy Considine and Imelda Staunton serve as the moral compass of their small Welsh village who begrudgingly welcome their new supporters. Dominic West – who I have seen brilliantly portray many adulterous womanisers on the big and small screen over the years – reveals a different side to his talent and creates a touching chemistry with on-screen partner, Gethin (played by an equally brilliant Andrew Scott). But it is Ben Schnetzer who delivers one of the film’s greatest performances as charismatic gay rights activist, Mark Ashton.
Pride is not without its drawbacks that comes in the form of the infuriatingly one-dimensional Maureen Barry (Lisa Palfrey), who passes the film with a single, dissatisfied expression as she angrily spies on her fellow villagers from behind closed curtains. But, fortunately, Pride’s weaknesses are minimal.
Pride brings an inspiring story, that had been largely forgotten amongst the drama of one of Britain’s most turbulent times in recent history, back to the centre and packs in a lot of laughs along the way.