Directed by Matthew Warchus.
StarringBill Nighy, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Ben Schnetzer, Imelda Staunton, Joseph Gilgun and George MacKay.
When a group of gay and lesbian activists pledge their support to the minors’ strikes of the 80s, they are met with a mixed response. Some take them in as brothers and sisters, but they must also win over the ones who react only with embarrassment and, sometimes, hatred.
Pride, like it’s namesake, has many ups and downs. Pride in oneself can lead to confidence, looking good to others and feeling good to yourself but can also lead to a swift downfall. The movie gives this lesson as well as telling other stories in a myriad of character arcs that all play out together to tell the overarching story of two groups shoved underfoot by the state in 1980s Britain.
The use of many sub plots with the main story always present, but as a backdrop as opposed to a melodrama, is where Pride’s strengths lie. The pacing is exquisitely handled, and each character is given their dues. From Gethin (Scott) and Jonathan’s (West) slowly revealed relationship, Dai’s (Considine) struggle with his hometown and Joe’s (MacKay) growing up. It’s all well looked after by director Matthew Warchus, but not over handled.
It suffers slightly from being a romanticized version of real events, feeling true but characters in this number are always going to be a little stylized. Performances save this aspect, however, with outstanding turns from everyone that helps balance the use of these sub plots. The script is balanced so well that there isn’t one weak role or performance, but special mentions must be made of Ben Schnetzer as Mark as well as George MacKay’s vulnerable Joe, each struggling in their own way with the world around them.
The script is brilliant in the way it mixes big and small events, to the point where the biggest points in life are handled as casually as the making of a sandwich and the small events, the ones that are actually important, are given centre stage. The meeting of two strangers, two people talking about school. Even buying a pint of beer for a person in the same trouble as you. These small events are what make Pride what it is, along with a charm and humour that’s infectious from the first frame.
Like above, the hits of the day are used to place us as an audience in the time period and setting but also serve to stylize proceedings. It’s in the style of a slice of life, being presented to audiences that’ll be part-reminiscing and part-discovering, and as that Pride just about works in the factual sense.
And like life, Pride is funny, sad, bitter and all too short. The ever so slightly quick ending, which gives way to the seemingly obligatory use of text on a screen to finish the stories of real people, leaves the audience wanting more but why couldn’t the audience be given a little more? While the battle with miners is won and the two groups work out their differences as much as possible, the battle with the state is barely addressed. Another chapter from their lives would obviously lead to a bloated movie, but the ending given here is a little vague. But in the end, Pride is a movie about those little victories. Showing the winning of the battle, if not the war, is more truthful than letting these characters live through every stage of winning rights for embattled groups.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★
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