PRIDE is the movie you will not want to miss. In fact, if it is playing near you, you will want to put down that fork/pint/keyboard/stress – and run your little ass over to the theater. Take a hanky because you will cry. Wear pants with an elastic waistband because you will laugh. Bring your phone because you will want to call friends afterwards – either to do them the favor of recommending the film or to organize a protest demonstration inspired by PRIDE.
PRIDE tells the true story of a group of London queers who in 1984 decide to form an uninvited alliance with the striking miners. When they are rebuffed by the union leadership, they rather randomly choose a tiny, isolated Welsh village in the Dulais valley to be the recipients of the money they raise at a Pride march. The raucous first meetings between the two groups, so profoundly ignorant of each other’s realities, set the tone. Their common enemy, Margaret Thatcher and the forces of British reaction, provides a steady bridge. Gay-bashing and union-bashing are siblings.
The miners’ strike – the longest in British history – was the defining struggle of the 80s. The defeat of the unions was the focus of Thatcher’s not inconsiderable hatred and power. It affected the politics and the economics of every generation since. PRIDE, the film, is like a grand musical, which turns out to be a fitting way to express that magical connection among allies. A plethora of characters are drawn with incisive wit and strength (except for a couple of vegan lesbians – the only two-dimensional stereotypes) and the sub-plots are emotionally packed and politically charged.
You know me. I hate most films. But I love PRIDE with my heart and my fist. I can’t even pick which characters I love the most: Mark (Ben Schnetzer), the dashing young charismatic visionary; Sian (Jessica Gunning), a miner’s wife whose life is opened up by rubbing up against “the gays”; Steph (Fay Marsay), the quick-witted and hip dyke; or Cliff (Bill Nighy), the elder statesman of the miners whose dignity and humor cushions the over-the-top moments.
If you care about justice, if you ever loved a queer, if you want a chance to cheer, if you need a reminder that people give a shit, go see PRIDE.