Film, Drama
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)

It’s the holy grail for filmmakers: to tell a story with something to say about our world that is also shamelessly entertaining, moving and funny. ‘Pride’ recalls how a small group of gay activists took a trip from London to rural South Wales in 1984 to lend their support to a beleaguered village during the miners’ strike. Their reasoning was that the miners were going through a struggle not so different to their own. And what joy and pain director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford unearth as they detail awkward meetings that blossom into unlikely friendships and personal breakthroughs.

The ‘gays’, as the Welsh call them, are led by young Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer), loud and determined. Those at his side in Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) include barely out Joe (George MacKay) and a couple, actor Jonathan (Dominic West) and his more meek partner Gethin (Andrew Scott), for whom a return to Wales holds special meaning. An equally sprawling cast of Welsh characters includes Hefina (Imelda Staunton), Dai (Paddy Considine) and Cliff (Bill Nighy). Both ‘sides’ meet on various occasions, culminating in a raucous visit to London when Mark and his comrades organise a series of ‘Pits and Perverts’ fundraising concerts.

Warchus’s background is theatre – he directed ‘Matilda’ on stage – and what he cooks up here has all the drive and verve of a musical while there’s a dash of Ken Loach in the film’s knockabout camaraderie and, of course, politics, although ‘Pride’ wears the latter lightly. The beauty of Beresford’s script is that it champions solidarity while never ignoring solo experience; helped by a strong cast, he finds moments of truth for so many characters in some very effective brief scenes.

In tone, ‘Pride’ bears comparison with British social comedies like ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Billy Elliot’ and ‘Brassed Off’: it’s populist, touching, full of songs, and it mounts a twin raid on our tear ducts and funny bones. But where ‘Pride’, with its scenes of men snogging and Staunton hysterically waving a big pink dildo, has the edge over those films is in a progressive touch that anchors it in 2014.

That’s not to say ‘Pride’ is especially daring; but for a defiantly mainstream film, it’s free of coyness or embarrassment and unashamed of shouting about the powers of solidarity, friendship and empathy. It’s a joyous film, full of love and warmth but unafraid to admit that with sticking out your neck comes struggle and sorrow. Truly lovely.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Release date:
Friday September 12 2014
120 mins

Cast and crew

Matthew Warchus
Stephen Beresford
Bill Nighy
Dominic West
Andrew Scott
George MacKay
Paddy Considine
Imelda Staunton

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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This movie is very down to earth, at times quite grim, but funny and heartwarming.

The hardships and criticism the gay community had to suffer in 1984 were awful but they didn't let this stop them from raising funds and protesting for the miners who were under threat from being made jobless. The alliance was highly unusual and unlikely and was of course frowned upon by many, including miners themselves.

Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine are clearly big names and bring the movie the attention it deserves, but their performances are understated and let the story speak for itself.

If you love other true and inspiring political dramas like Brassed Off you'll love this one too.

Fabulous film - like being transported right back to 1984!  Great acting performances and well constructed.

excellent , moving, uplifting and didnt realise that had happened at the time, so educational

Life affirming and uplifting stuff and a reminder of growing up in Thatcher's Britain. But for a few 'sugary' cliches this may have been a five star film.

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A film about gay activists supporting striking miners seems like every leftie's dream. But regardless of your political persuasion, it's hard not to be moved by this incredible real-life story. Unless you're heartless, you'll leave the cinema wanting to wave the rainbow flag to the tune of Billy Bragg.

A brilliant film. Somewhere between Made in Dagenham and The Full Monty, but better.