Review: Pride – a brilliant, feel good story


Review of Pride, out today, by Jim Jepps.

lgsm 02For people of my generation The Miners’ Strike of 1984 was a defining moment. For good and ill, it shaped our ideas and beliefs about this country for decades to come. Just like the movement against the Iraq war it was not only a set of events that fundamentally shifted the political landscape, it reached into hundreds of areas of life that you might never have predicted at the outset.

Pride covers one such (true) story, that of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners group who, operating from Camden’s Gay’s the Word bookshop, fought an uphill battle to bring together traditional mining villages and London’s cosmopolitan gay community. As they built solidarity they broke down prejudices.

The film has a stellar cast including Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Joe Gilgun, Paddy Constidine… I could go on, it’s ridiculously overflowing with talent, creating a brilliant ensemble feel. Well paced, funny and moving Pride takes us through the very human story of how those facing a common enemy can forge unlikely alliances for the benefit of both.

prideNow, I confess that at the best of times I’m up for a good weep but Pride had the waterworks flowing throughout from the humble gratitude of the Welsh NUM official to tears of laughter at Dominic West’s piece de resistance (of which I’ll say no more). This is an absolutely brilliant feel good film.

It’s also a film with great lessons for us all about how we can break down prejudice with practical solidarity rather than outraged tweets. It would have been all too easy for many gay socialists to turn their backs on the miners in their time of need because of the ingrained prejudices of generations. The story of the LGSM shows that friendship is a far more persuasive force than enmity, and that even the most hardened bigot can be turned with practical solidarity.

It shows us this isn’t easy, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable for all concerned, but the rewards are a hundred times greater than any satisfaction the moral high ground might bring you.

This is a wonderful film bringing to life one small piece of a monumental struggle that bridged so many different fights. Go see it.