I have been griping a lot lately, so here’s a puff piece about something I really liked: the movie Pride. I finally got around to seeing it a couple of weeks ago, three years or so after everyone else, and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. A terrific, sweet, lovely movie.
It takes off from a true story about a group of gay lesbian folk in London in 1984 and 1985 who raise money for the striking miners. In that sense, it’s one of a slew of terrific movies set amid the strikes and pit closings and the aftermath: Billy Elliot and Brassed Off come to mind, and I put The Full Monty into that category, although incorrectly as it was a mill that closed in that one, not a mine. Still, a distinction without whatnot. But Pride is also a one of a slew of movies about the gay community in the 1980s: My Beautiful Laundrette and Longtime Companion, and I feel sure I am missing some recent movies set in the time of the early terror of AIDS and the opening of the closet.
The fundamental point of the movie is in a thing that the labour leader played by Paddy Considine says several times:
There’s a lodge banner down in the welfare [the union hall]. We bring it out for special occasions. It’s a hundred years old. I’ll show it to you one day. It’s a symbol like this—(Extends his hand) Two hands. (Mark takes it) That’s what the labour movement means. Should mean. You support me and I support you. Whoever you are. Wherever you come from. Shoulder to shoulder. Hand to hand.
or perhaps it’s this, that he says when Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners take him to a gay bar and invite him to the stage to talk to a crowd that has no interest in listening to some straight guy from Wales:
If you’re one of the people who’s put money into these buckets—if you’ve supported LGSM—thank you. Because what you’ve given us is more than money. It’s friendship. And when you’re in a fight as bitter and as important as this one, against an enemy, so much bigger, so much stronger than you—well. To find out that you have a friend you never knew existed—It’s the best thing in the world.
Does that sound soppy? Well, I am soppy like that. Seriously I have found the shooting script online and I am weeping all over again, like I did when I watched the movie and one of the girls in the town started singing "Bread and Roses".
Now, of course, like Billy Elliot and Brassed Off, the political stuff is the setting: the story is about the personal connections that people make within that setting. But the setting is so powerful and makes those connections so powerful. The acting (Billy Nighy underacting for a change, but still lovely, and dear Lord thank you for Imelda Staunton, and Andrew Scott was not as irritating as I usually find him, Dominic West was utterly wonderful, somebody named Joe Gilgun was delightful, pretty-eyed Ben Schnetzer was magnificent, Russell Tovey made me cry (again) and, yeah, it’s a good cast) and the film-making (and the soundtrack! Bronksi Beat! Frankie Goes to Hollywood! Dead or Alive! Style Council! Fun Boy Three! The Communards! Bananarama!) were wonderful. Just a really well-made, sweet lovely movie.
And I think to myself: Self, I think, maybe somewhere in all this fucking mess of a world right now, there are some young people—and some old people—who are living lives that will someday be turned into movies as good as this one.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,