|'a story so lacking in cynicism, pre-judgement, homophobia, classism and the other problems of today's society that it feels almost as if it looks forward to a utopia, rather than backwards'|
As British Dramas go, you could perhaps argue that Pride has little to set it apart. Its gentle story wanders along satisfactorily, with rarely a challenge or overt conflict that you think the main characters won't overcome by the end of the narrative. It is, and here's a phrase loaded with potential dual-meaning, 'heart-warming'.
Sometimes though, all of that is exactly what a story needs. Pride tells the tale of a gay rights group pulling together to fight for the miners of the North, oppressed by Thatcher, who they see as having similar aims and problems to themselves. It's a story so lacking in cynicism, pre-judgement, homophobia, classism and the other problems of today's society that it feels almost as if it looks forward to a utopia, rather than backwards to a time that was anything but in regard to those negative ideas. Director Matthew Warchus has found, in Stephen Beresford's script based on real events, a little island of humanity so resilient that it prospered during the dark days of Thatcher's oppression and society's ignorance.
Warchus assembles a perfect doe-faced cast that embody all of those ideas. Paddy Considine, as the sympathetic heart of the initially sceptical miners, is emblematic of the choices that work. Dominic West, as the flamboyant senior member of the gay rights group, is perhaps less obvious but nevertheless similarly successful; how can you not warm to a film which puts Detective Jimmy McNulty dancing on the tables of a Welsh working men's club?
The leads though are really bright young things George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer, who ground the film in the innocence of idealism, which it clearly loves, and rightly so. Joe (MacKay) leads us through as the closeted member of the group, slowly coming round to the fact that the world 'out' there is probably better than the prim and 'proper' way of things in his parent's house. Slowly, with him, we move from the world we arguably know to a better, more inclusive one.
There are perhaps a few too many obvious movements which Warchus relies upon late in the film (a curtain-twitching member of the Welsh village is too dastardly to believe, but required for late plot points to work), but even they are rare and Pride emerges as something completely satisfying in its willingness to look at the world through better, happier, eyes.