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Pride

Year: 2014
Production Co: Calamity Films
Studio: CBS Films/BBC Films
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford

The only slightly confounding element is exactly why a group of gay and lesbian rights activists decided to support striking Welsh mineworkers. Pride doesn't really make clear whether the alliance was truly altruistic or just a matter of getting a bigger platform for more publicity, but a beautiful friendship comes out of it nonetheless.

The moral of the story is that we can find people like us in the unlikeliest of places - that misfits who stick together will find common ground. It's the same thing we get from a million ham-fisted Hollywood tear-jerkers, But Pride does is with more finesse and a scrappy, eager quality that's as determined as its protagonists.

It's the middle of the notorious mine strikes of Thatcher's Britain in 1984, and when a ramshackle group of gay and lesbian activists who congregate in a London bookshop plan their offensives against the establishment, someone has the idea of raising money for – and throwing their lot in with – the striking miners.

After standing outside their store with buckets asking for donations, the salt-of-the-earth Welsh villagers are shocked when a group of flamboyant Londoners show up pledging support and offering money.

Their presence divides the town, separating the populace into the rednecks who'll never accept them, the grateful who are happy to have new friends, and every variation in between.

The largely unknown cast brings verve and spirit to the proceedings, and the movie does a good job of wrangling a lot of characters and their stories and relationships.

Some beats of the story are predictable and slightly telegraphed, but the tone is jovial and showy, more Four Weddings and a Funeral than Philadelphia. The script, the music and the performances are all about grabbing you by the lapels and wanting you to jump up and punch the air with each victory or shed a tear with every defeat.

It doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of discrimination and bigotry faced by both miners and gay activists at the time (sometimes from each other), but Pride is a heartstring tugger that wears its warm and fuzzy credentials very much on its sleeve.

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