Pride (UK, 2014)
UK Release by Pathé – 12th September 2014
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Brief Synopsis: It is London in the summer of 1984 and it is time for change. A young group of Gay UK activists develop a group to support the Mineworkers strike happening across the nation, it is a long-shot but they soon find a struggling local community in Wales and raise enough money to support them. There is controversy and plenty of chaos to ensue.
What a triumph! Not only for the British film industry as an entity, but for everyone involved: a fabulous ensemble cast and spectacular craftsmen. Notably, Anthony Radcliffe’s cinematography boasts great aerial shots of Wales, the M4 and Westminster; they certainly wet our appetites for what Britain has to offer.
The film is not just good looks on all fronts, it has deep meaning and certain truths about the ways of life that are fully enlightened by pitch-perfect and dynamic performances. These performances are complemented by charming set pieces and a fruitful, rich and shipshape storyline. The story crusades through the life of each individual and sheds a bright light on equality and justice, standing up for what you believe in, whether grand and political or simply within the checks of personal life. Of course, the film does have a big political message, and everything stems from the political encounters, yet I would still argue that it is fundamentally a film about friendship; friendship should not be taken for granted and it is one of the most important and valuable possessions we have to live our lives as human beings.
Think big, aim small is an interesting motto that I take away from this film. It is depicted in the film via the progress of the highly entrepreneurial and outlandish group LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). They think big; it is 1984 and so, after all, being homosexual promptly indicates that you are a radical. However, it is only when one of the members of LGSM realises that they must make a small step to begin with (by supporting an individual village suffering from the strike rather than the entire nation of miners) that results happen and the pieces begin to fit together. There are setbacks along the way of course, but the previous small steps taken provide a counter balance. In this sense, the film is a series of events exploring the equilibrium of relationships. A number of sub-plots work themselves tightly into the script, each plot a slightly different approach to the relationship equilibrium; it is wonderful writing. Yet, and this should always be the case, we are interacting with a visual medium so it is the actors who must garner most of this credit. They play their characters with joy, temperament and with the fluidity you’d expect from the theatre to create a respectable portrait of life. It is directing, casting and performance at their most cohesive and talented. I am very excited to see what work the future holds for Matthew Warchus.
Not to be mistaken, Pride is full of laughs and each segment of comedy blends naturally into place without interrupting the flow of drama or force behind these devices. Your emotions will be allowed to take the full circle; they will spark every basic feeling and consequent thoughts of acknowledgement, belief and certainly nostalgia. The film is complete: it has told a factual story with wit, intelligence and all the pleasure you’d expect from an indulgent piece of fiction. It dramatises to logical and even insightful conclusions and it delivers 110% on craft.
A final remark, whilst the film was a tremendously joyous and thoughtful experience, do not make the mistake of believing its surface naivety. Of course, its characters want to believe they can change the world, that is true of them, so expect a bit of farce from the homosexuals. I am largely a pessimist, and even I didn’t become frustrated and managed to overlook the latter; the reality you are searching for lies a fraction behind the curtain. I loved it.