Sometimes a film comes out of nowhere and has a longer lasting impact than any major release of the year. Social issue films have had a long development in British over the last 30-40 years. Kitchen sink drama is still in existence and there are some truly exceptional films that highlight how our prejudices and actions affect our way of living. Tyrannaur by Paddy Considine was a powerful example of the bleak unforgiving lower/working-class life as it paints an accurate portrayal of the side that people don’t see. You see this in documentaries all the time, but in fictional it feels far less condescending. Pride could have been produced an a serious and visceral portrayal of the attitude towards homosexuality in the 1980s, but Pride has more flavour than that and far exceeds these traditional notions to deliver one of the best examples of pure British cinema.
Following a strike by the mining community in Swansea during a period of intense conservativeness under Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, a community of homosexual activists decide to help in possible way they can, but as you might expect from prejudice, the miners don’t take to kindly as they feel it damages their public image and goes again the morals of their upbringing. The depiction of equality and unity which people at the time believed was non-existent, Pride does a reposeful job at never escalating conflict but instead nurturing the attitudes in a far more light hearted tonality.
There is such a sense of locality and intimacy that makes the narrative relatable to a British audience. We’ve all been in one of those rundown dink church halls or community centres that have a very smokey atmosphere, and Pride also goes as far as to highlight the sense of vibrancy that can be had at such settings. Swansea and inner areas of London are displayed in their authenticity, yet the film doesn’t critically document them rather than let them feel natural and alive.
The memorable and distinct characters reinforce this continuously relaxed familiarity. Each character has a unique personality, ambition and attitude. We get a literal and visual sense of who they are in the way they act, talk and consciously interact with the other characters around them. The tension between the miners and gay activists is established with hesitance and awkwardness but how each character grows on each other is one of the immense highlights of the film. The audience matures with the film and it never stops being an enjoyable ride.
The film shouldn’t be misconstrued as a historical period piece rather than a finely fleshed out narrative that highlights issues of cultural recognition as well as asking the audience to consider their own prejudices and ignorance. It’s a comedy that undeniably brings laughs and can easily be regarded as a solidly composed film with an incorruptible integrity.