[info]duskpeterson wrote
on June 4th, 2017 at 05:51 pm

Video review: Pride (2014)

Clip 1, near the beginning of the movie. Clip 2, with no major spoilers but not safe for work.

I watched this British movie - which I had never heard of before I happened upon a fanvid of it - for three reasons:

1) It features miners. I researched miners last year for an upcoming story.

2) It's set in Britain in 1984-85. I lived in Britain in 1982.

3) It features the gay and lesbian community (as it was called in those days) in 1984-85. I joined the gay and lesbian community on October 2, 1985.

I know the exact date I joined because, on the evening of the day that I walked (with great trepidation) into the quarters of the University of Maryland's gay and lesbian student club, I ended up sitting with the other members of the club in front of the student union, holding a vigil in honor of the passing of Rock Hudson. The next morning, my picture - along with the pictures of other vigil-holders who had given their permission - was on the front page of the university paper.

I mentioned this incident a few years ago to a college-aged reader, and she asked, "Who was Rock Hudson?" Boy, did that make me feel old. "Pride" made me feel young again, because it begins with a wet-behind-the-ears college student being swept into the gay and lesbian community at a time of police hostility, gay bashing, and AIDS.

Based on my own experiences, I'd say that the movie captures perfectly the blend of darkness and joy that was the gay and lesbian community in 1984-85. But this is not your typical gay pride movie. Miners, remember? This is about a meeting of two very different cultures, and the most extraordinary thing about this comedy-drama is that it's based on a true story.

The story is beautifully told: very funny and very moving at the same time. "Heartwarming" is a much overused word to describe films like this, but the word is applicable in this case.

What I most appreciate about this movie is its restraint and its diversity. The original story that the movie is inspired by featured violence, yet only some profanity and some brief mentions of sexuality propelled the movie into an R rating; otherwise, the movie would have deserved a PG rating. As for diversity, we aren't presented with a stereotypical group of gays and lesbians, or a stereotypical group of miners and miners' wives; instead, what we encounter are a wide variety of people, each with their own story. This gives the film added depth.

This is the best movie I've seen for several years. I highly recommend it.

Historical resources for after you've seen the movie (because the website has a major spoiler on the home page).

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