Monday, 13 October 2014

Pride: Movie Review

Pride: Movie Review


Cast: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, George Mackay, Joseph Gilgun, Ben Schnetzer
Director: Matthew Warchus

The Brit feel good juggernaut hitches a new truck to its load (after Billy Elliott and The Full Monty) in this based on a true story tale of two opposite communities coming together to reunite against the background of the UK miners' strike and the common enemy of Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s.

Centring on a group of gay and lesbian activists who are determined to focus the prejudice they feel living under the shadow of AIDS, fear and misunderstanding in 1980s Britain, Pride follows shy, timid, closeted gay Joe (George MacKay) as he ends up joining forces with Mark Ashton (Schnetzer) and his gang.

When the London-based group realises the miners are suffering from the increasing pressure Thatcher is placing on them, they start to raise cash for the cause, but struggle to find a community willing to take it. However, they find a sleepy Welsh mining village and make contact - much to the bemusement of Paddy Considine's Dai. But, with times being what they are, the money's welcomed - until the group heads to the village to be formally thanked....where once again they face more prejudice....

Pride is unashamedly feel-good, crowd-pleasing and nostalgic fare with a truly predictable path for its protagonists.

Will the closeted Joe be confronted by his parents finding the truth? Will Mark's group be accepted? Will the bigoted residents of the Welsh village change their homophobic outlook on their newcomers? Will Sherlock star Andrew Scott's Gethin, who was forced to leave Wales because of his mum's bigotry return to his homeland and to her acceptance?

The answers to this won't surprise you - particularly if you're familiar with the mould of the Full Monty and Billy Elliott style-adversity - but what will surprise you is how elated you actually feel as it all falls into the place, dishing out heart-warming moments, nostalgic outdated opinions that you could never say "back in the day" and such a joie de vivre that you'd be an utter grump to try to wriggle away from.

Sure, there are inconsistencies; Staunton's head of the committee is so vehemently opposed to the group to begin with but crumbles for no discernible reason as the camera pans away, but she also provides some of the screen's funniest moment as she and her cronies head to London's gay scene for a night out.

Yet for every predictable moment that edges towards a rainbow just over the Welsh hills, there are moments of subtlety which stop the film from over-sentimentalising everything through the rose-coloured hued glasses of nostalgia. The AIDS virus provides a haunting spectre towards the end, and is nicely poured into the mix rather than being sledge-hammered home as the culture-clash comedy comes to its conclusion.

Full of passion and poignancy, with a large dollop of heart sprinkled liberally all over its sleeve, Pride can't be tamed. (Believe me, I tried) And nor will you as you leave the cinema with a flamboyant smile beaming across your face.

Rating:


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