Thursday, October 23, 2014

Movie with Abe: Pride

Directed by Matthew Warchus
Released September 26, 2014

It’s not hard to rally around a good cause, and movies about such efforts have the potential to be truly great because they can both tell an energizing story and raise awareness about the featured cause. “Pride” manages to seize on a rare and fantastic case of two causes being joined together as one: the true story of a group of gay and lesbian activists in 1980s London who decided to adopt the concurrent national miners’ strike and raise money for it, forming the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Their tale is an inspiring and affirming one, and the film that depicts it is full of entertainment and positivity.

“Pride,” a film with a perfect name, introduces two diverse and eclectic groups of people who serve as its featured populations. A small gay bookstore owned by Jonathan (Dominic West) and Gethin (Andrew Scott) serves as the makeshift headquarters for the new movement conceived of and spearheaded by Mark (Ben Schnetzer) and Steph (Faye Marsay), and also frequented by Joe (George MacKay), a twenty-year-old culinary student who has yet to come out to anyone from his home life. In a small mining village in Wales, prominent citizens and council members Dai (Paddy Considine), Hefina (Imelda Staunton), and Cliff (Bill Nighy) are befuddled but pleased to discover that a group of young gays and lesbians has decided to champion their cause and collect donations directly for the families of their citizens.

The merging of these two communities is a truly wondrous thing to behold. Several of the activists tease Jonathan for being too flamboyant, but with Steph’s orange hair and everyone’s attire, they surely stand out among a group of traditional blue-collar families. Fortunately, Dai, Hefina, and Cliff see no reason to oppose their offer of friendship, but others don’t feel that way. Watching them win over even some of the most resistant members of the community is wonderful, and it’s a lot of fun to see the amusing and endearing relationships that are formed along the way.

“Pride” benefits from the advantage of having a terrific story to tell, but it also manages to do so in an involving and interesting way. Considine, Staunton, Nighy, and West are all experienced actors playing their roles to perfection, and they’re complemented well by new talents like MacKay, Schnezter, and Marsay. The entire ensemble works together to create a vastly enjoyable and resounding experience that sheds light on a surprising alliance created thirty years ago that has true resonance today.


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