Big Gay Picture Show – September 11th 2014
Pride opens at the London Gay Rights March in 1984, with openly gay men and women walking down the street with banners protesting their rights to love who they want. They’re suddenly joined by a young, fresh faced Joe (George MacKay), who’s quickly nicknamed Bromley, who nervously joins them in their crusade for equal rights.
There he meets Mark (Ben Schnetzer), a man who’s always keen to support a cause. Mark has the brainwave that the miners, who are striking and facing massive oppression from the government, have many goals that mirror those of LGBT. He decides that they should start fundraising for the miners, and to do it out and proud as the newly formed group, LGSM (Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners).
There’s a problem though. After they’ve got some cash together they discover the National Union Of Mineworker and many other mining groups do not want accept their charity due to fear of embarrassment with being associated with a gay group.
Then they have the idea of going straight to those on the frontline of the strikes and approach a small mining village in Wales. Due to an initial confusion with who the LGSM actually are and what they are about, the mining community is hesitant. However, after impressive dance movies and emotive speeches, the miners and the LGSM realise that they may have more in common than they realise, and the two very disparate communities begin to find a surprising friendship.
They both suffer with oppression, being belittled and confronted aggressively every day by the police, the government and ultimately, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. However the growing bonds between LGSM and the village aren’t universal, with some locals unwilling to challenge their homophobia, while back at home the lesbians and gay men still have to deal with the threat of being attacked in the street for their sexuality, while a relatively newly discovered disease starts making some wonder whether that’s the real fight rather than supporting miners who come from the sort of places many gay people escaped to London to get away from.
The film, directed by Matthew Warchus, boasts an impressive cast featuring Imelda Staunton, Billy Nighy, Dominic West and Andrew Scott; even featuring a brief but effective cameo from Russell Tovey. Although the subject matter may be sometimes distressing, the film is has far more laughs than you’d ever expect, along with an abundance of tear-jerking moments.
Those from the Welsh mining community provide some classic, hilarious lines while confronting and learning to understand gay culture. In my humble opinion, Pride is a must watch film for anyone who has felt that they are on the fringes of society – and even if you haven’t, there’s a lot of laugh. While the words ‘feel-good’ and massively overused, they’re 100% accurate in this case.
It is not only a film about humanity, solidarity and the ability to forget about certain differences, but also about realising the similarities in times of struggle and that perhaps the only way to grow as people is to challenge your preconceptions.
Overall Verdict: A hark-back to classic 90s films such as Full Monty and Billy Elliott, but with a much more out and proud attitude, along with a lot more laughter. To use some more slightly trite words, it really is a must-see.
Read the review on the Big Gay Picture Show site here.