I must admit that, for all the amazing word-of-mouth support for ‘Pride’, I wasn’t convinced. And thus, I expected the movie to pass from theatres without my attendance. But, the powers that be had a different plan and called me in to steward a 9pm screening of, you guessed it . . . Pride. A packed house seated, I joined them for two of the most life-affirming hours I’ve had in a cinema for a good long while.
Honestly, believe the hype; Pride is fab! It’s a vital piece of British history known by too few (certainly of my generation) and its charms are infectious.
It chronicles the plight of a small group of gays and lesbians who decide that the enemy of their enemy is their friend and band together to support the miners in their fight against Thatcher’s iron fist. Their support finds them in tow with a small mining town in rural South Wales but, as expected, not all of the locals appreciate the help.
To lead the charge, Matthew Warchus (director) has assembled an ensemble cast of British thesps unmatched since the Harry Potter years. Paddy Considine is on particularly fine form and it’s great to see him back on the big screen, after what seems like a considerable absence*. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton are also reliably exceptional as the village elders, as are Dominic West and Andrew Scott (Moriaty’s backstory’s kind of complex, right?) as a chalk and cheese gay couple. Also, a big shout out to Joseph Gilgun who is quite simply one of the best young British actors working today.
Speaking of Gilgun, on a number of occasions, Pride reminded me of the more joyous moments of Shane Meadow’s seminal work, ‘This is England’ (both the movie and the TV series), in it’s heart-breaking portrait of a particular sub-section of 80s youth culture. And, let me assure you, that’s high praise indeed.
Warchus ensures it isn’t all plain-sailing, however – even if he doesn’t quite sink to the horrendous lows of the truth – but, above all, he delivers a barnstorming crowd-pleaser. An exceptional cast and an exquisitely measured balance of comedy and drama ensure that Pride will linger long in the memory come awards season.
*’seems’ being the key word here. He, of course, had a sizeable role in last year’s ‘The World’s End’.