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30 Oct 2014

Real-Life 'Pride': This Fine British Comedy Tells the True Story of Miners, Gay Activists Joining Forces

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A scene from Pride. A scene from Pride.

Based on the real actions by gay activists to support striking miners in 1984 Great Britain, Pride is an enjoyable showcase for some fine actors, as well as a fun springboard for good British humor.

Sporting a particularly awesome Morrissey haircut, Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is fronting a gay activist group in England that is having a hard time getting noticed and respected. Mark notices that the miners’ union is taking a real beating with the public and with the government, and suggests to his group that collecting money for the miners would be a solid publicity ploy with charitable rewards. Young Joe (George MacKay) goes for a walk on his 20th birthday and encounters Mark and his group marching in a gay pride parade. He joins in, eventually hearing of Mark’s plan to support the miners. He decides to eschew his collegiate responsibilities and join the fight.

An eventual meeting with the miners brings some great actors into the show. Paddy Considine is terrific as Dai, one of miners’ leaders, a grateful man who stands up for the gay support—while many in the town shun their existence. A speech given by Dai at a gay establishment is genuinely warm and rousing, and sets the tone for the film. Bill Nighy is equally wonderful as Cliff, a meek loner on the miners’ side who seems a bit skittish at first, but becomes one of the staunchest supporters of the gay folks. Imelda Staunton delivers as Hefina, a woman who has had enough of the useless prejudicial tactics coming from some of her friends.

Sure, Pride is a little predictable at times, but the cast is undeniably brilliant. It has the same feel of some of the great British comedy-dramas of recent years like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot. Because this is based on a true story, Pride has a little more heft than those cinematic bonbons.

Pride is now playing at the Camelot Theatres (2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs; 760-325-6565).

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