Film #147: Pride (2014)

n-pride-2321-14Director: Matthew Warchus
Language: English with about one line of Welsh
Length: 119 minutes
Watched on: April 4 2015

As usual, this film was released many months late in Japan. I was surprised it was released at all, if I’m honest – but then again, it was only out in one cinema in Ginza. I realized later that the day we saw it, and the release date of the picture in Japan, is sometimes known as Gay Day, mostly by primary school children and those who think that gays are halfway between make and female (it’s halfway between girls’ day on 3/3 and boys’ day on 5/5), so it may be missing the point somewhat, but I find it funny. April is also the month of the Rainbow Pride parade in Tokyo, since June is the rainy season and summer is far too hot, which coincided nicely with this.

Pride is about a group of young activists in the 80s who decide that an alliance with striking miners would be beneficial to both parties, and is based on a true story – apparently pretty faithful to the real life situation, although some characters were taken out or merged.

It starts with a young guy, the clueless-looking blond in the photo above, sneaking out to attend the pride march in London. He gets dragged along by a very charismatic young man, who comes up with the idea of joining the miners’ strike. They travel to Wales, and after some initial homophobia, they win the trust of the locals after they show them how to get out of being illegally held in jail.

But after all, summarizing a plot is boring. The film covers so many themes it risks getting bogged down, but it always keeps its head above the water, effectively engaging its audience at all times. Sometimes it whiplashes when it switches topics – after all, it takes place during a time when the AIDS crisis was still poorly understood but coming into the public consciousness, never more obvious than when the middle-aged Welsh ladies barge into a gay bar to talk to the nice young men wearing leather, a comedic scene bookended by a cameo by Russell Tovey as a young man coming to terms with his quickly-approaching fate in what I’d say was one of the most heartbreaking scenes.

Despite this ongoing epidemic, the film retains an upbeat message, however. Perhaps it’s undermined by the fact that the miners eventually lost to Thatcher, but it’s still optimistic about the future, and notes that the whole incident played a significant role in the Labour party’s decision to officially support gay rights.

I don’t think I’ve even seen such an optimistic gay movie, in fact. I loved all the characters in the movie, running the full gamut of gay and lesbian stereotypes, and then some. I liked the comedic moments, especially inconsequential things like the lesbian splinter groups with a definite air of the People’s Front of Judea.

This film was a gift, frankly, and it’s something I think everyone should try and see, post haste! I want more of this. And let’s translate it into real life too!

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