Back in 1984, while the spectre of Orwell slept, the Iron Lady was near the height of her power and hubris, unions were under attack on both sides of the Atlantic, and the gay and lesbian community, having made great strides, was just starting to deal with the rise of AIDS around the world. Into this complex soup came events that the most fanciful writer could never have written without being scoffed at: a group of gay and lesbian activists stood up to support Welsh miners during their year long strike against the Thatcher government.
The main plot is driven solidly in two parts by Schnetzer (The Book Thief) and McKay (Hunky Dory) providing both views of the gay community at the time–activist and coming out. Having both ends of the spectrum allow an entree into the events regardless of who you are.
The rest of the cast is a diverse mix of new and known faces with some note-worthy performances. Nighy (Turks and Caicos) and Staunton (Maleficent) have some of the best moments of the film as representatives of the coal miners. Giligun (Misfits) and Gunning (Law and Order: UK) turn in very different performances from other roles I’ve seen them in. Other recognizable faces include Fox (Worried About the Boy), West (John Carter), and Scott (Sherlock), each adding solidly to the story.
The film itself is a heck of a start for new comer director Warchus and writer Beresford. Each shows considerable talent in finding the important moments within a broad story. If it all felt a bit manipulative, that is as much the fault of facts as it was the creative hands shaping it.
Thirty years later, Pride is as much a glorious story as it is a reminder that the divisions that spit us apart may not be as insurmountable as they feel. People are people around the globe and we can expect more of each other than we think. It is an energizing and encouraging journey whose most surprising moments keep coming through into the final credits.