Buvette Masthead

Movie review: Pride

Roslyn Hull

In 1984, young closet gay Joe hesitantly attends his first Gay Pride march and is taken under the collective wing of a group of gay men and one Lesbian, Steph. Almost on the spur of the moment this group, so used to persecution by both the police and the public, decides to help another persecuted group – the National Union of Mineworkers – during their bitter and lengthy strike for better wages and conditions. But will any chapter of this Union accept their help? imdb

I do not think I can truly convey how my heart swelled watching this film. It is a deceptively small British comedy drama but, like a throwaway line from Stephen Fry, it packs a huge punch.

I do not often tear up at the movies but I needed the tissues several times – sometimes from laughing, but mostly because of the indomitable spirit of the real people at the heart of this story.

History is a hydra-headed thing. Every story, no matter how closely you study it, has other aspects, other versions you don’t see.

Think of the many, many different stories of Australians in the first World War that we have seen and will continue to see through 2015. But that was a long time ago and surely ‘modern’ events are held up to greater scrutiny, surely everything that can be told has been told? Nope. I was a reasonably politically aware arts student in 1984, I knew about the miners and in an abstract way I think I agreed with what they were trying to do.

I had not one idea that they were supported practically and monetarily by a small group of marginalised people from London – the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). Not everyone in their community could make this altruistic step because of the persecution suffered at the hands of people like these miners. Not everyone in the mining communities could bridge this gap and accept help from ‘people like them’.

That one small Welsh village can and does and that this story is closely based of real events is what makes Pride astounding. The journey the characters take is not just great fun to watch, it is joyous. It is not just touching, it is thought provoking.

It is such a small film but just like the group whose story is portrayed it takes on big issues, many of which are still not resolved. In its very British way it reveals, pauses without comment and moves on – but hours, even a day later I was still thinking about certain scenes, realising that a brief comment, a small moment, held yet another mirror up to accepted beliefs and roles.

The ending (apparently historically accurate) gave me goosebumps.

Huge snaps to the writer (actor Stephen Beresford) and the director Matthew Warchus. The single negative thing I could say about the film is that it is obvious the director comes from theatre. The set pieces are a bit static at times but Wales looks bleakly beautiful and it really is just a tiny niggle.

Gigantic snaps to the wonderful cast – dramatic heavyweights Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine and Dominic West all employ the lightest and most human touches to their portrayals. Andrew Scott (Moriaty in Steven Moffat’s Sherlock) is magnificent. However, good as they all are it is the young folk that absolutely steal the show. Freddie Fox barely has any lines and steals all his scenes. Faye Marsay as Steph is gorgeous (The White Queen with a punk hairstyle!), George Mackay as Joe is the heart of the movie and Ben Schnetzer (Max in The Book Thief) is a revelation as Mark, the instigator and driving force behind the group.

Watch this boy, he is going to be HUGE. He looks perfect in his role (remember, I’m from the ‘80s, I know) but it is his presence onscreen that is inspiring. He has made three movies in two years (the other is The Riot Club) and produced three impeccable accents. When (notice I didn’t say ‘if’) you see Pride you will not believe he is from New York.

Don’t miss this film.

Movie Giveaway

To celebrate all that is British, we’re giving away two double passes to the 2014 Emirates British Film Festival at Palace Electric Cinemas. Showcasing the best of contemporary British cinema with 15 new films and a specially curated program featuring six classic British films in the ‘Six from the 60s’, the Festival is a celebration of British cinema that helped shaped today’s film makers.

For your chance to win a double pass, name one of the 16 films that will screen during the Festival. Leave your answer below in the comments and we’ll announce the winners on Monday 10 November at 9am. Competition closes 11.59pm Sunday 9 November 2014. 

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Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author

  • Felicity Gray

    Cannot wait to see this!

    For the double pass — The Imitation Game

  • Kate Jermyn

    The Love Punch 🙂

  • Kieh

    So excited to see Pride! And equally as excited to attend (hopefully with a pass) the British Film Festival and see one of the many fantastic films playing, including ‘The Love Punch’.

    Thanks!

    Kieh

  • Samantha Ockerby

    This certainly sounds like a must see.

    For the Giveaway – A Long Way Down

    • Samantha Ockerby

      oops, wrong email on first comment

  • Wise Woman

    Pride – “heart-swelling!”- what a great descriptor.

    For the Giveaway – Jimmy’s Hall. While festival looks great.

    Carmel

  • Kate McLoughlin

    Love these little British Films with star casts…and the retro films like A Hard Days Night!

  • Emily

    ‘A long way down’ – love Toni Collette!

  • Linda

    When the Queen Came to Town

  • Emma

    Double pass giveaway- A Long Way Down

  • Michelle Brotohusodo

    I loved this movie. Want to see it again!