Film review: Pride
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- Published on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 11:50
- Last Updated on 07 September 2014
- Freda Cooper
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There’s no ignoring the new British movie, Pride. The publicity machine has been working overtime and the 80s comedy/drama eventually lands in cinemas this week. It’s already been likened to Billy Elliott and The Full Monty and, while there’s some obvious parallels, this is a film that goes its own way. But does it live up to the hype?
It’s 1984 and it’s London Pride. A nervous Joe (George McKay) joins in for the first time and soon teams up with a group of gay activists. It’s also the height of the miners’ strike and the group decides help by raising funds. Finding a community to take their money proves to be harder than they anticipate but eventually a village in South Wales accepts their offer. It’s the start of a relationship between the two communities that changes everybody’s lives.
While there are serious political and social issues at its heart, Pride is still a feel-good movie with plenty of humour that comes not just from the old-fashioned attitudes on display but the characters themselves. The women are the real driving force in the Welsh village and get some of the best comedy moments as well, especially when they go for a wild night out in London. It may sound unlikely, but this is almost a romantic comedy, bringing two minority – almost outcast – communities together and having their views of each other changed for ever.
The film has a tremendous ensemble cast, almost a who’s who of British film acting, and using so many familiar faces is a bold move by director Matthew Warchus. But he and writer Stephen Beresford are telling what is essentially a true story and they’ve gone to great lengths to stay faithful to the events, and those involved. And it’s paid off, so much so that to single out individual performances is almost against the spirit of the film.
Pride is a film with real passion for its subject and that passion is infectious. It might be guilty of romanticising things just a touch too much, but you can happily forgive that while you’re being swept along by its warmth. And, if you want to find out what happened to the characters in real life, make sure you stick around right to the end.
Mums’ rating: 7/10 Pride’s 15 certificate means it’s not for all the family but it hits the mark as a piece of life affirming yet thought-provoking cinema. If you lived through the 80s, it’ll bring back memories and, if you don’t remember them, it’s an eye-opening piece of social history with attitudes that seem to belong further back than just 30 years ago. Take a tissue or two. You’ll need them.
Pride goes on general release on Friday, 12 September 2014.
Film critic and radio presenter Freda Cooper has been a movie fan all her life – the best qualification for the job! A contributor to a number of film websites, she also presents her weekly podcast, Talking Pictures, a finalist in the UK Podcasters Awards. Her movie blog, formerly The Coops Review, is now also called Talking Pictures, and was shortlisted at this year’s UK Blog Awards. And you can hear her film reviews every Friday morning on BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex!