Review – Pride

Poster for 2014 historical dramedy Pride

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 12th September 2014
Runtime: 120 minutes
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Starring: George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun
Synopsis: A group of gay and lesbian fundraisers form a touching, but complex, relationship with a village of Welsh miners in the 1980s.

 

It’s often a bit of a kiss of death to describe a film as “feel-good”. However, in the case of comedydrama Pride, it’s an apt description of a film that is full of warmth and glee. Whether you engage personally with the subject material or not, you’re guaranteed to leave the cinema with an enormous smile etched across your face.

When Joe (George MacKay) attends a gay pride march in secret, he becomes involved in a new fundraising group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, organised by the charismatic Mark (Ben Schnetzer). They contact miner Dai (Paddy Considine), who invites the group to his small village near Swansea. He immediately wins over committee members Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Hefina (Imelda Staunton), but not everyone is as keen to accept them.

Pride tells a true story that is not well-known, amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the miners’ strike. Its strength is that it sheds light on a recent story from an entirely new angle, illuminating it in a different way. Stephen Beresford’s script is incredibly clever, avoiding cliché and embracing emotional warmth and delightfully filthy wit.

| "Mining communities are being bullied just like we are."

The film showcases a remarkable mastery over tone. Whilst it is most at home cracking one-liners and dunking everything in glitter, it also has an incredible talent for darkness. It deals with the difficult issues of its era with remarkable flair, crystallised in a sensational cameo by Russell Tovey, which is guaranteed to lead to goosebumps.

Pride benefits from a hugely talented ensemble cast, who are all on top form. Ben Schnetzer is incendiary, passionate and utterly brilliant as troubled campaigner Mark, with This is England star Joseph Gilgun shining as his gentle friend. Imelda Staunton expertly carries the bulk of the comedic weight as a brash Welsh woman with a razor-sharp tongue, whilst Bill Nighy brings the laughs whilst saying very little.

Throughout Pride is a rich vein of solid gold comedy. There are one-liners aplenty and the culture clash of the story creates dozens and dozens of belly laughs. The film’s script is immediately one of the funniest of the year, with Britain putting the increasingly depressing American comedies to shame.

| "Dai… your gays have arrived."

Already receiving enormous praise from critics and audiences alike, Pride could well go down in history as the best British film since Billy Elliott. It’s a charming, edgy journey through a story that deserves to be told. In a world where even superheroes have gone dark, sometimes it’s really refreshing to see a film that’s willing to paint the screen pink.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Boasting an irresistible charm and warmth, Pride is an absolute triumph.

It turns a little-known historical tale into an uplifting, feel-good drama that isn’t afraid to tackle more difficult subject matter in the context of its story.

Great performances and an excellent script mark the film out as something really special. It’s not as instantly definitive as Billy Elliott, but it will definitely have audiences dancing in the aisles.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

Pride is showing now at Picturehouse Cinemas nationwide.

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