Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, George Mackay, Paddy Considine, Joseph Gilgun, Faye Marsey, Freddie Fox, Ben Schnetzer, Jessie Cave, Liz White, Sophie Evans, Monica Dolan, Jessica Gunning, Chis Overton. Russell Tovey.
America can provide you with the blockbuster, Europe the art, India the beauty but when it comes to truth, justice, the gritty political outpouring, nobody does it better than the British film industry. Blockbusters are all well and good, the stimulation the senses, they blow the mind. Art and beauty is needed to wrap up the human emotion and give it meaning, realism is what brings it together, what makes the cinema goer believe in and restores a balance in a world that is too eager to make sure that division is seen everywhere.
Nothing shouts louder than a film about oppression, especially when it is state sanctioned, when the Government oppressor kicks out at those already on the margins of society. The ones who are at the head of the pile when it comes to the bully boy antics and who kick downwards, their so called moral supremacy out of touch with the rest of society.
Pride is that film, the true story of a group of young, and not so young, lesbians and gay men who decide to help a Welsh mining community, despite protests and initial anger and confusion, who are just one of a number of communities struggling due to the Miner’s Strike of 1984. This help, in the form of awareness and fundraising helped the small Welsh town also look past its own bigotry and negativity towards gay rights.
The film picked up on many of the social ills of the time, the near collapse of a part of society, the degenerative outpourings of vile hatred towards both miner and gay and with a touching scene which involved a wonderful cameo by Russell Tovey who had developed AIDS, the backdrop of the Government advert voiced by John Hurt still resonating through time. The message “Don’t Die of Ignorance” could now be changed in many parts of the world to “Don’t Die in Ignorance”, any love between two people will always be better than any fear spread by those whose own bigotry stands in the way of Humanity learning acceptance of other cultures, beliefs and ways of expressing themselves and love.
Pride is a true great, a script given credence because of the truth it holds close to its soul, an absolute belter of a cast and a soundtrack, which included songs by bands such as King, Bronski Beat and The Smiths, which captured the better aspects of growing up in 1980s Britain. The cast was exceptional but for Bill Nighy, the delightful Andrew Scott, the sublime Dominic West, the overwhelming talent of Paddy Considine, Faye Marsey, George Mackay, Jessica Gunning and especially, the power behind the whole film, the incredible Imelda Staunton, whose performance was of the kind that would normally at least be thought of Oscar nomination material, Pride was a crowning achievement.
To hear the outpouring of near rapturous applause at the end of a film is something to take true delight in. You would expect it say for example on such films as Les Miserables or an epic of Hollywood silver age proportions but on something as British made as Pride, as something 30, perhaps even 20 years ago which would have had the likes of that bastion of so called moral outrage Mary Whitehouse spitting feathers, beating her head with the palm of her hand and even standing outside every cinema the length and breadth of the country, only shows how much as a nation, as a species, we actually have come on.
For many this film will be an important educational tool, it needs to be seen by all in the same vein. Heart-warming, eye opening and gratifying look when a divide was crossed, when the establishment got a kick when it wasn’t expecting it and all because two distinct groups of people fought for each other. In some way the people of Britain have forgotten how to do this, in others the lesson has been learned and kept going, in the end it only takes Pride.
Ian D. Hall