When I could understand what was happening, I was moved.
As Pride month comes to a close, I can think of no better way to commemorate the end of the season than with a movie that’s positively brimming with pride. No, really, it’s LITERALLY the title of this week’s Wayback. Pride (2014) more than lives up to its name. This rousing story about the fight for equality is a heartwarming crowd-pleaser that’s sure to get you fired up to inspire change in your own community. Or another community. Any community, really. This movie was inspiring as all get out, okay?
Based on a true story, Pride follows a group of lesbian and gay activists who in 1984 raised money to help families affected by the British miner’s strike. This small display of activism led to what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.
Here’s the problem with movies based on true events. If you’re not at all familiar with the historic event it’s portraying, and the movie just assumes that you have been fully briefed on the subject, you’re going to be so darn lost. That was me while I was watching Pride. I’m entirely unfamiliar with the British miner’s strike of 1984. Now, that’s probably on me as a young Canadian that I know nothing about this moment in British history. But I was interested in learning about it, something the movie was evidently not interested in. The movie begins so quickly and powers ahead full force, barely taking time to explain who people are, what’s going on, or why any of it matters. The intent of Pride and its message is super beautiful and sweet but the execution of this movie is just a little muddled. Muddled in the sense that so much is going on and the movie never takes a breathe to explain anything. Stop paying attention for a second and you’ll be lost. It also doesn’t help that the acting and writing of Pride goes by a mile a minute.
The cast of Pride is filled with absolutely fabulous actors who deliver charismatic and moving performances, I just wish that I understood both them and the story more clearly. You guys, the accents in this movie were borderline indecipherable. Again, maybe that’s just because I’m me from Canada, but I was five minutes in and already more lost and confused than I thought possible. All of the characters, whether they’re the members of the LGSM or the miners themselves, look and sound similar, so it’s hard to keep track of who’s who and what’s going on with them. That honestly made it hard for me to stay focused 100 per cent of the time. There were a few standouts for me though, specifically Ben Schnetzer who plays LGSM founder Mark Ashton, and Imelda Staunton who plays Hefina Headon, a member of the strike committee. The spirit and the fire that Schnetzer brings to Ashton is perhaps the highlight of Pride, and it’s such a standout performance that it made me eager to see more of Schnetzer’s movies. If he brings that level of commitment to all of his performances than he’s definitely an actor worth keeping an eye out for. The way Ashton so fiercely stood for the the idea that everyone deserved the same level of respect no matter who they are or what they do honestly touched me. It inspired me to be as vocal and determined as I stand up for similar values and ideals. Staunton is fucking awesome. For as much as you loathe her as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter (2001 – 2011) movies, you will positively live for her in Pride. What an ally!
Pride is a fun and well-crafted movie with an uplifting message, but it’s just a lot. Meaning that it seems to go on and on and easily could have been trimmed by a solid 20 minutes. Especially when the movie almost seems to be repeating the same kind of scenes over and over. I have no doubt that those who could actually follow the plot of Pride can pinpoint why this movie is so good, and impacted so many people, but for me, the enjoyment was lost in confusion. I would be down to revisit this movie again sometime in the future, I’m just going to have to make sure that I first take a history class. And that I remember to turn the subtitles on. The accents you guys…my oh my were they difficult to manoeuvre.
For as much as I’ve griped about Pride, I would still recommend you give it a chance. I did not by any means dislike this movie, I just had trouble following it. If you’re reading this review and are confident that you’d have an easier time following it than I did, than I strongly encourage you to give it a watch for yourself. Let me know how it goes!
Have you seen Pride?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!