One of the pivotal scenes—perhaps even the most pivotal scene—in Pride comes in the latter half of the movie. It’s a small scene, one that doesn’t draw much attention to itself. Joe (George MacKay) has been found out to be gay by his parents. His mother (Monica Dolan) begs him to think of the consequences of being openly gay. That moment is quietly upsetting and heartbreaking, while also highlighting what the film is really about: acceptance of and equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
Joe’s coming-of-age story is but one aspect of this gem of a movie. Social realism, humor, love, bigotry, HIV/AIDS, singing and dancing, and a miners’ strike are among the other elements found in the film. Written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus, Pride treats its topics with elegance, intelligence, and, above all, humanistic warmth. It does teeter on the border of the land of clichés every now and then, but Warchus confidently ensures that each visit doesn’t last longer than necessary.
The period details are spot on, enabling the viewer to vicariously travel back in time to 1984; thank production designer Simon Bowles and his team for that. Cinematographer Tat Radcliffe’s work affords the movie a nice visual tone which adds to its realism. The soundtrack contains some great music, including “Love & Pride” by King, “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club.
With a running time of 119 minutes, the film is a little on the long side, admittedly. No reason to worry, though. Melanie Oliver’s skillful editing results in a consistent narrative flow, which in turn makes sure the proceedings don’t actually feel long.
Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and Paddy Considine deliver top-notch performances, of course. The real stars of Pride, however, are the actors who portray the members of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners group. In addition to George MacKay’s excellent work, Ben Schnetzer, Faye Marsay, and Andrew Scott impressed me the most with their wonderful acting in the roles of Mark, Steph, and Gethin, respectively. And Dominic West is simply terrific as Jonathan. I must also mention Menna Trussler, who’s a hoot in the role of Gwen.
The powerful ending nearly brought me to tears. It’s only fitting that this inspirational and tremendously entertaining film end on such an uplifting note. For that reason, and a number of others, Pride comes highly recommended by yours truly.