Happy Saturday Everyone!
What did the group of gays and one lesbian say to the Welsh coal miners?
Sounds like the start of a really bad joke, doesn’t it, but it’s actually the basic premise of this week’s Saturday Selection, the movie Pride.
About the Movie
Set in the U.K. during the very nasty coal miner strikes in the mid-1980s, Pride shows just what a determined group (and what breaking down prejudices) can do. A gay man, Mark (played by Ben Schnetzer) decides the government’s attacks on the coal miners are no different than attacks against the homosexual community. To show his support (of the miners, not the government), he encourages his band of friends (a handful of gay men and one lesbian – a running joke throughout the movie) to gather change that will keep the miners from starving during their strike.
The problem is that no miners’ unions want to take money from “the gays.” Rather than admit defeat, they randomly pick one town out of the phone book to give the money to. Over the course of the movie, the mining town (well, most of the mining town) learns to accept the help and a strong bond develops between Mark’s group and several of the miners’ families. The film also delves into the struggles and prejudice against the gay community as AIDS is starting to take its toll.
How Was It?
I wasn’t expecting Pride to be as good as it was. From the ads, the movie kind of seemed like a rip off of The Full Mont, but I ended up liking it far better than I ever did The Full Monty. Through the eyes of Bromley, a 20-year-old who is just starting to come out, we see the difficulty of coming out in a time when homophobia was rampant and even encouraged by Thatcher’s government. The fear you feel for Mark’s group when they go into the mining town for the first time not only goes down to great acting, but also the sympathy Pride generates for its characters.
Pride also has a perfect mix of humor, compassion and passion that keeps it from ever taking the easy road of either slapstick silly, sappy melancholy, or overt political propaganda. Although there is a happy ending, the final “notes” show that all does not end well and leaves you wondering what could have been achieved by Mark had his future not been dimmed by tragedy.
The film is based on true events. Like The Imitation Game, Pride is not intended to replace a historical documentary. However, it does bring to light a bit of recent history that I was unfamiliar with and it was terrific to see the interviews with the people who were portrayed in the movie (in the special features). It adds a personal touch to a film that has already pulled you in.
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.