13 September 2014 | rogerdarlington
In the summer of 2014, my wife and I went to a north London dinner party where one of the other guests was Mike Jackson, a leading member of Lesbians and Guys Support the Miners ((LGSM), a support group during the bitter industrial dispute of 1984-85 which provided money and assistance to a mining community in South Wales. He told us how he had been acting as a principal adviser to writer Stephen Beresford and director Matthew Warchus who had crafted the forthcoming film "Pride" which explored this unlikely pairing of groups fighting the iniquities of Thatcher's Britain and he made clear his delight at how the subject had been treated for the big screen.
So, the first weekend that the movie was on show, four of us from that dinner party were in the cinema to view it and we were all thrilled with how brilliantly this story has been told. Some of us even cried.
The film is unashamedly political, both in its representation of the prejudice against homosexuals at a time was AIDS was devastating the gay community and the hostility of ministers, media and police to the miners' fight to keep pits open, but the treatment ensures that this is an immensely entertaining and often very funny work. Although the movie wears its political heart on its sleeve, it avoids an over-simplistic portrayal of the gay cause by showing entrenched opposition to their involvement in the miners dispute from sections of the Welsh community and challenge from gays themselves as to why they should be involved in a workers' strike, although the controversy of the lack of a ballot authorising the strike itself is avoided.
The script is a triumph with every line making an impact and telling us something and there are some wonderful jokes. A disco dancing scene and a solo-to-group singing session are destined to become favourite recollections of a memorable movie. The cast is magical: a combination of distinguished character actors like Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Bill Nighy (although his South Wales accent is wobbly) and young newcomers like Ben Schnetzer, Joseph Gilgun and George MacKay. And there is remarkable attention to period detail (we had the same design of coffee cup as in an early scene), enhanced by music from the time.
Although GLSM was eventually shunned by the official strike committee and the miners lost the strike and almost all of Britain's pits have subsequently closed, the concluding scenes of the film and the final bits of informative text turn this historic interaction into a success that should inspire the present day gay community and labour movement alike. As Mike Jackson put it in an article about the film: "The one thing the ruling class don't want is solidarity; they don't want us to join the dots up."