Director: Matthew Warchus
Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Joseph Gilgun, Freddie Fox, Paddy Considine, Faye Marsay, Jessie Cave, Julie Barclay as Pam
A group called the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) rally round to raise funds and awareness for striking miners. It might sound like a far-fetched premise, but this tale is actually based on real events that occurred back in 1984, when a few members of the LGBTQ community felt they could relate to the plight of the disenfranchised and victimised miners, and vowed to help them.
However, the 80s were still somewhat dark days for the community, with prejudice rife and AIDS taking a stranglehold. Hence they struggle to get the mining unions to accept their contribution, as unions worry about being associated with a gay group.
Undeterred, they decide to approach the miners directly, and contact a small Welsh mining village that has been badly affected. Although a couple of people in the village are grateful for the support, it takes longer to win around others who struggle with their prejudice and beliefs, before learning that really we are all just the same underneath. This leads to a fruitful and rewarding relationship between the two communities.
Given that this film deals with a difficult period for both sides, it is amazing how much humour there is in this movie. The script is witty without ever being patronising or condescending. While many different characters within the community are represented (and everyone will recognise someone they know) they are never portrayed as caricatures, and all the cast do an amazing job in their portrayals, giving deep and often moving performances.
Special mention should go to Ireland’s own Andrew Scott, who plays a gay character for the first time in his career, after coming out himself earlier this year. Dominic West is also amazing, and completely embraces his role as a somewhat queeny actor, performing one of the funniest and best dance routines ever committed to screen (and yes he really can move!)
Of course underlying all this humour is pathos. Both communities are struggling. The LGBT community are abused by the public, and live under constant threat of attack. Meanwhile, the miners are being victimised by the government and authority figures, and are struggling with the indignity of losing their livelihood. However, the one thing that both sides have in spades is Pride – hence the title.
This is uplifting, heart-warming, inspiring and really good fun despite the serious subject matter. It really shows what can be achieved when opposing communities work together, and it will inspire you to adopt a cause of your own.
Never sensationalist, this is character-driven, and just lets the human interaction tell the tale. With shades of Billy Elliot, there is no reason why this couldn’t become a classic within the community, and rightly so. Sensitively handled without being schmaltzy, and funny without being mocking, this is how LGBTQ stories should be handled on screen. And as a bonus, the 80s soundtrack contains some classic anthems that will have you tapping your feet and singing along.
In Cinemas September 12