“There’s a long and honourable tradition in the gay community. When somebody calls you a name, you take it… and you own it”.
Ever since I’ve started reviewing movies, I’ve been surprised how often a character says something in a movie that reviews the film perfectly. Mark Ashton (played by Ben Schnetzer) seems to sum up Pride’s philosophy. Some have criticisized it as “formulaically cheery” and “gushy”. Seeming to have anticipated this response, Pride wears labels like “crowd-pleaser” and “feel-good movie” like a badge of honour. Its unapologetically sentimental, unashamedly light, and undeniably manipulative. And I LOVED it!
In 1984, a group of London-based lesbian and gay activists formed a small group in support of the miners strike called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. This is a tough side for both sides at first. Some gays and lesbians question why they should help the kind of guys that used to beat them up in school. And the miners in the small Welsh town that the group focuses on are about as pleased to accept help from homosexuals as Billy Elliot’s dad was to discover that his son was learning ballet. Soon though, the initial culture shock gives way to an alliance that builds friendships that last even after the miners strike is over.
Pride is based on a true story although I’m not sure how much of this actually happened. The bonds between the two groups come a little too easy and the atmosphere of homophobia may be a little watered down to fit the lighter comedic tone of this movie. But the fact that any of this happened is actually kind of amazing- that two groups of activists with different agendas would work side by side, daring to see their struggles not as “gay rights” or “worker’s rights” but simply as human rights, fighting injustice that they see done to others even as they have their own injustices to deal with.
Pride tends to keep things light but isn’t afraid to touch on some pretty serious themes as members of LGSM deal with coming out, hate crimes, and AIDS. Its filled with likeable performances from an ensemble cast that contribute to a very funny and moving film that I highly recommend.