Time to Remember
I find it hard to imagine two more diametrically opposed peoples than working class Welsh miners and urban gay activists from London, and find it harder to believe that these two disparate mindsets would ever come together and find common ground - especially in the 80's. But that is exactly what happens in Pride (Available on Blueray and DVD) which is based on the remarkable true story of a group of gay activists who raised funds for striking miners and their families during the UK mining strike of 1984-85.
Idealistic and youthful Mark (Ben Schnetzer) , the de-facto leader/ organizer of the fundraising efforts , sees the similarities in their plights ( through public scorn and general harassment of law enforcement) and rallies his gay brothers and sisters for their support. Under the moniker "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners" (Or LGSM), they call around to the union offices only to be disregarded and shunned. Undaunted, they decide the best course of action is to directly contact one of the villages whose very existence hinges on the resolve of the strike and offer their support. The Welsh village of Onllwyn sends the best possible representative in the form of open-minded Dai Donavan (Paddy Considine) who sees beyond his hosts orientations and realizes that they (the miners) cannot afford to turn down any offer of help in the face of losing everything. He tells them of the hundred year old banner that is dusted off occasionally for union meetings and marches that has two hands intertwined in a handshake , representing brotherhood and solidarity.
The true test happens when the group ventures to the village at the invitation of Sian (A refreshing Jessica Gunning)-a miners wife who volunteers at the union hall. There they are initially met with distrust and derision, most members ready to dismiss the donations for fear of being ridiculed themselves for taking help from a group of poofs. Leave it to the fearless dancing of the flamboyant Jonathen (A charismatic turn by Dominic West ) to break down the barriers (Women want to dance with him and the hapless non-dancing Welshmen see the advantages of that!) and soon they are working side by side.
Not everyone is pleased with this turn of events. Maureen, a mining widow with two sons, sees only that the "deviants" and "perverts" influence will damn them all to hell, and does everything in her power to stop the alliance.
Pride has a strong ensemble cast peppered with great turns by Bill Nighy ( in a quiet understated performance), Imelda Staunton (hilarious as the bawdy and outspoken committee leader), and Andrew Scott (Moriarty on BBCs' Sherlock ) Director Matthew Warchus does a lovely job balancing the comedy and pathos of the piece - this movie may have many lighthearted moments, but I must confess it did elicit a few tears. What a wonderful thing that happened . Who could believe that in time of great need people could put aside their ideological differences for the common good , putting their humanity first and their differences last.
Sounds like a fairy tale to me.
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