(published Oct 1st 2014 Westview News)
PRIDE is based on a true story about a compelling, recent chapter in British
history. During the crippling 1984-1985 national miners‟ strike, the U.K.’s gay
and lesbian community, already under siege with the beginnings of the AIDS
epidemic, took up the cause of the battling miners, raising funds that literally kept
them and their families from starvation. LGSM (Lesbians & Gays Support Miners)
grew into a national movement because of the vision of 24 year of Mark Aston
and members of London’s Gay Liberation Front (GLF) .
Matthew Warchus (the Tony award-winning director of God of Carnage and
Matilda) has taken his stage skills and made vibrant, compelling, funny movie
about very serious matters. How differences becomes less important when a
common enemy confronts people who might not normally know each other or
want to know each other. The miners strike had the Thatcher government treating
the miners like gays and lesbians historically had been treated: both are the target
of repression by the Thatcher government, the police and the tabloid media.
PRIDE is based on real people and real events
Some readers know that I was a part of the Stonewall Rebellion and a founder of
the Gay Liberation Front (GLF ) in 1969. Multi-issue politics were at the core of
political organizing for GLF. We saw our liberation tied to the liberation of other
peoples from oppression be it racial, economic, gender or religion based.
PRIDE is situated not in the single issue politics of same sex civil marriage (nicey
rebranded as marriage equality so no one has to think about sex) that has become
the template of most LGBT politics today but in the multi-issue politics rooted
in solidarity with others still very dear to my heart. While some may suggest I
would lose objectivity in reviewing this film. I feel clear that while I knew some
of the principals portrayed, I can tell you Warchus and his screenwriter Stephen
Beresford have captured the heart and soul of the story of how these two very
different groups of people discovered common interests by interacting and learned
to see each other as people and not as someone to be seen as scary.
PRIDE is a also a very funny comedy about very serious issues. It features several
of England‟s most prominent performers including Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic
Marigold Hotel and the Pirates of the Caribbean films), Oscar nominee Imelda
Staunton (Vera Drake, the Harry Potter films),
Dominic West (300, HBO's
acclaimed The Wire) and Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum, In America).
American actor Ben Schnetzer plays Mark Aston, the GLF radical who saw the
links in oppression between the miners and the lesbian and gay movement and
almost single handedly railed against both indifference and actual experiences
of miner homophobia and successfully organized the LGSM (Lesbians & Gays
Support Miners) movement.
The human interest plot is emphasized over the politics but never overwhelms the
political story of how miners and most significantly their wifes overcome their
resistance to having gays around and how lesbians and gays earned to talk and
like and stand together with the miners is done with the swerve of Matilda
and the interpersonal friction of God of Carnage. There is also Joe (George
MacKay), a twenty-year old college student who is still very much closeted at
home. Coming Out was also central to GLF and watching how Joe finds, like
many of us did, a family of choice that helps himadult, complicated movie, It is not a glossy fairy tale.
PRIDE is for all families especially anyone who is a union member or who fights to protect workers rights in an increasing workforce of young people who are either part-time, freelance or “consultants” ...meaning no union , no benefits, no solidarity.