TIFF 2014 Review: Pride
Pride is one of the special films that we want so much to meet our expectations. We are surprised that it not only exceeds them, but does so for reasons that we did not expect. The film traverses the treacherous path between becoming preachy and shouty and actually delivering on the emotions.
At its core, the Matthew Warchus-directed film Pride is about how a group of English gays and lesbians supported the striking miners under the Thatcher government in the 1980’s and how they were met with some resistance, as miners are not exactly the most friendly and inclusive group, delivers in a key way.
A couple of scenes in particular, one with Paddy Considine as a representative of the miners, coming to visit the gay and lesbian epicentre at a party and winning them over with some convincing rhetoric provides a spark. Another comes at the middle of the movie and features the reverse, Ben Schnetzer as Mark Ashton, by all effects the leader of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, coming to visit the group in Wales, and delivering his own impassioned speech. What comes next though was absolutely chilling, and could have even gone on longer.
Quite surprisingly, in a film of great performances, the heavy lifting is done by the more unknowns, like George MacKay as Joe, the wide-eyed innocent living at home and Jessica Gunning as Sian, the strongly supportive wife of a miner. Dominic West is miscast as the reluctantly flamboyant Jonathan and Bill Nighy affects a weird accent throughout.
Regardless of some necessary maneuvering to gloss over certain details, Pride is a stand-up and cheer triumph.