Monday, July 11, 2016

Movie Review: "Pride" (2014)

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Director: Matthew Warchus
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

In a sign of solidarity against the government, a group of gay rights activists decides to support a striking miners union. They form the group LGSM, or Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and raise money so the striking miners can continue to eat and pay their bills while on the picket line. They think raising money is hard, but getting the miners union to accept their help may be even harder. That is, until they convince one small Welsh mining town to put their preconceived prejudices aside and accept their help. 

Based on a true story, "Pride" examines two very different groups of people coming together for a shared cause. When a gay rights group decides to take up the cause of a striking miners union, it was unexpected and definitely met with a lot resistance from the union. In the 1980's, anti-homosexual sentiments were at their peak, especially with the onset of AIDS and its impending crisis. Many of the striking miners didn't want to accept help from this group because of their own personal prejudices. While others reluctantly accepted help, once they actually started to get to know the people in the LGSM, many people became good friends as time went on and as minds were slowly changed. The movie boasts a delicate, intricate mix of poignancy, aspiration and humor, which of often dark, but never low-brow or out of place. When cultures clash, there is bound to be lots of laughs. Though its roots are embedded deep in politics, these political dividings take a backseat to the human interest story, which is so compelling and never more relevant than right now in history.

"Pride" is so successful at being fascinating due in large part to a number of incredibly charming performances, featuring the likes of veteran actors Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine, who mingle well with newcomers like Jessica Gunning and Karina Fernandez. These wonderful actors make up some characters from the core of the story, but when push comes to shove, it's Ben Schnetzer, who plays Mark, that truly steals the show. Mark is the driving force behind the LGSM movement and one of the main characters of the film. His performance is spectacular and we're shocked that he's not actually from Ireland because his accent is so spot on. George MacKay is also notable as Joe, a young, closeted homosexual man who fears the repercussions that may come if his family were to ever find out he's gay. The emotional range of "Pride" goes from extreme fits of laughter to bouts of sadness, anger and fear, but you're never not feeling something while watching it. It's a rather moving film about acceptance, growing beyond what you've always known as traditional, and looking past people's societal labels. Maybe it's because of where the film takes place, but this movie reminded us of "The Full Monty," not in subject matter, but in everything else. Weird comparison, maybe, but since we love "The Full Monty," it's actually a good thing. This is a must-see film!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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