- Katherine McLaughlin
- 8 September 2014
Bill Nighy and Dominic West star in a fizzy, feel-good take on an inspiring 80s campaign
Imelda Staunton rolling around a bed with a red dildo laughing is one of the gleeful high points of Matthew Warchus’ unashamedly fizzy, cheering take on the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign which involved a unique coming together of two very different factions, determined to fight Thatcher’s government during the 1984–85 UK miners’ strike.
Starring Bill Nighy, Dominic West and Paddy Considine, Pride is based on the true story of a group of young hopefuls who 30 years ago congregated at London's Gay’s the Word bookshop with lofty ambitions of changing the world, and who set out for the Dulais Valley in Wales to help their mining community. Both groups were the targets of small mindedness and vile tabloid headlines, and their alliance, though paved with troubles, became a shining beacon of socialism.
The threat of physical violence would have been a lingering presence at the time but, with Pride pitched as a comedy, this mostly remains in the background. Warchus removes much of the bubbling rage, only lightly touching on the police harassment and suffocating air of discontent. He adopts an optimistic (some might say rose-tinted) approach, full of uplifting moments extolling the concept of a helpful society.
The heady whiff of 80s nostalgia is unmistakeable, with the groups dancing to 'Karma Chameleon' at a working men's club and a fun montage showing them exploring London's gay scene together. There are deeply moving moments too, with a group sing-along of 'Bread and Roses' bringing a touch of Terence Davies to proceedings.
Pride is a warming, big-hearted affair which fully embraces the principles it so wonderfully portrays, turning itself into a lesson in compassion. That it squeezes its story into a familiar feel-good template means it has more in common with The Full Monty than, say, This is England, but it remains inspiring and entertaining in equal measure.
General release from Fri 12 Sep.