Pride – Review


Despite the numerous (re: many many) defects that befall the mentality of the modern British film industry, there is one credit that should always be due the contemporary British filmmaker: when a British film is a hit, it stays a hit – and it becomes a national treasure from that day forward. One of the most famous of these sorts of films is undeniably The Full Monty – an instant hit which saw its success rapidly diminish its own moral, yet with a more-than-healthy lifespan in British cinemas, the film went on to partially diminish another beloved national gem: Brassed Off. An insightful, witty and utterly heart-wrenching depiction of a colliery brass band in the wake of their pit’s closure; Brassed Off was the perfect depiction of a post-Thatcher Britain and the plight in which the working class found themselves. Matthew Warchus’s Pride owes more than a debt to Brassed Off, yet without it’s own Full Monty to overshadow it, there’s genuine potential for Pride to become the breakout hit that Brassed Off never could. And if there’s a single British movie more deserving of that privilege in 2014, it’d be a damn good year for Britflicks.

Based on the true story of a group of LGBT activists who set out to raise money for the families of striking miners in the 1980’s, Pride features a veritable who’s who of premium British talent. The gang’s all here – Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Bill Nighy – and there’s a crop of pretty enchanting younger talent along for the ride as well. Not a single one of whom bring anything less than their absolute A game to a film which yo-yos its audience’s emotional range from sobbing to laughter on a minute-to-minute basis with startling ease.

The cast are terrific, each granted their stand-out moments and with characters perfectly drawn and defined without the “true story” label burdening them with the requisite level of hokem. Pride’s true assets however are Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford. Warchus’s visual trope is sublime, the theatricality and gravitas of a stage-hand with just enough slick stylistic flare to keep proceedings lively and interesting. Beresford’s screenplay meanwhile is top notch, with an astonishing number of cutting gags interspersed with genuinely gut-punching emotional moments that give the cast more than enough room to shine. An early scene involving Paddy Considine’s addressing a gay nightclub rivals any of Postlethwaite’s in Brassed Off, whilst the depiction of residual prejudice in later points manages to play perfectly well without making those involved seem like one-note monsters. On the page alone, the film is a triumph.

A film that genuinely belongs in the British consciousness for years to come, Pride is an apt title for a terrific effort from Beresford and Warchus. It might just be the funniest film of the year – it’s certainly one of the most moving – and tightly compacted into two hours, it never once feels tiresome or overlong. It avoids preaching where possible and – despite a required amount of anti-Thatcherism (unavoidable given the subject matter) – doesn’t get too bogged down in the politics of it all. It’s an all-round box-ticking success, the sort of film the British film industry could, should and needs to make more often.


Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.


In it
Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton

Behind it
Andrew Warchus

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