It’s not terribly often that I voluntarily go see a film twice within the period of one week, let alone make a point to bring my parents to see it. But Pride is a good movie on so many levels that I could probably go watch it again. It has more to give than entertainment or even a history lesson…
Quick synopsis from IMDB: “U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.”
The storyline has been described in many other places online, so I don’t feel the need to expand on the very short blurb above. Suffice it to say that this film has many layers of drama, and plenty of truth and comedy to round it all out.
The story about the miners is almost unbelievable if it weren’t true. I say this because I can’t see two polar opposite groups like these coming together in our modern day political climate. We can barely have a functioning government in the US with two parties that are more similar than different! But the message/theme here is clear – we must reach out to one another, we have to communicate in order for progress to be made.
Mark says to Dai, “I know what happens when people don’t talk to each other.” Dai responds with something he has lived by and is represented on the miner lodge’s banner – a handshake. It represents friendship, support, and understanding. “You support me. I support you,” he responds. This theme is repeated when one of the miners offers his hand and a pint when many of the other miners walk away from the members of LGSM. Another example is when Gethin is talking with Helfina about why he has not spoken with his mother for many years. When he says her last words to him were unkind, she asks, “What were the last words you said to her?”
I think it’s also interesting how quickly we see that together these two groups are stronger. When the miners are held by the police it is the member of LGSM that tells one of the miner’s wives how to get them released. This diversity of people, perspective, and knowledge is not lost and serves to help break the ice between the two groups. And although the gay folks are worried about a certain group member being too flamboyant, it is his character in its expression that continues to bond the two groups together.
I was also impressed with the character development. There are many personal journeys taking place along with the main storyline. Joe (Bromley) goes from being in the closet to leading others while past leaders look on. Mark learns about friendship and how much of himself he is willing to give to the fight. Gethin literally makes a journey home that reconnects him to his past. And many of the people of Onllwyn grow as people as well, most notably Sian who grows beyond what even she expected. Even Cliff is able to be someone he didn’t think he could.
The ending of this film is nothing short of amazing both in its drama and documentary. Friendship, support, solidarity, and the unlikely alliance formed by people who opened lines of communication are heartwarming. Donovan says at one gathering, “Can you see what we’ve done here?… We’ve made history!” This is a part of history that I’m surprised wasn’t more well-known, and now I’m glad that it is. I’m always interested to learn from history, and I’m happy to learn about LGSM and the miners from this film. LGSM gave more than cash to the miners. They gave them support, friendship, and solidarity. They also gave them hope as this film now gifts to me.
Communicate and open up to people you wouldn’t think to – you may find something unexpected and wonderful.
Support those who support you.
Try to understand those who may not understand you.
Mark: “Have some pride! Life is short.”