About the alliance of gays and the miners in their struggle against the Thatcher government 1984-85. Joe (George MacKay) discovers he’s gay and joins Mark (Ben Schnetzer) at his gay bookshop. Mark launches Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. They go to Onllwyn to support the miners there and meet trade union chief Dai (Paddy Considine) and Cliffe (Bill Nighy) and there’s Hafina (Imelda Staunton). The miners visit the gay bar in London. They turn press persecution around by announcing the Pits and Perverts benefit at the Electric Ballroom. The miners are defeated but in July 1985 they join the gay freedom march.
Pride follows in spirit from Dagenham, Brassed Off, Billy Elliot, and The Full Monty. The performances are solid. Nighy is impressive as a dignified union official and Considine provides a steady presence as a Welsh trade union leader who overcomes anti-gay prejudice amongst the miners. Imelda Staunton is wonderful as the working class matriarch who (like all women) is tougher than the miners and fights betrayal in her community. I live in South Wales and can testify to the decent Welsh accents in use. Dominic West as Jonathan does a great dance routine, when the Welsh woman sang Bread and Roses I choked and blubbered. I myself was involved in left wing politics in the early ’70s, I left London in the mid ’80s, and have lived in South Wales on and off since then, so I know both worlds and the film brings it all back. I felt very nostalgic. The film has come out in quite timely fashion, in the week when Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher has been published (I liked the short story) when it’s been revealed that Thatcher was prepared to declare as “the enemy within” the Labour Party and the movement. Of course this is a heart warming film but I do have caveats: the feeling that now that the labour movement is safely defeated, it’s OK to make Ealing type films about it. What if the actors in this film had gone on strike, in an industry not noted for being generous to all its employees? Furthermore, although Pride is not about Arthur Scargill, I wish they would make a film showing how he betrayed the miners: by not calling for a strike ballet, getting Thatcher wrong, and his dogmatic misconception of the working class, a significant number of whom looked the other way and took Thatcher’s home buying bribe. Still, it’s a stirring story about a lost and lamented world.