Film Spotlight: Pride

Pride, a film based on the true story of lesbian and gay activists who support a miners' strike in the U.K. in 1984, proves the proverb, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." The film centers on a charismatic young gay activist Mark (Ben Schnetzer), who sees an opportunity to connect with another disenfranchised group that's been mistreated by the government, the police and the press. It opens areawide on Friday.

In the midst of a London Pride Parade, Mark begins rallying LGBT friends to support the families of miners impacted by the 1984 U.K. strike. While the activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is able to raise money, it has less success finding a union leader willing to accept the added stigma its donation might bring, so members find a way to funnel their charitable funds to a small mining community in South Wales.

The union is not without its challenges. When LGSM travels to meet the impoverished Welsh mining community, not everyone greets their benefactors with open arms. However, a few days, a few beers, a few naïve questions ("You're all vegetarians?" a curious and confused older woman asks a lesbian) and one over-the-top dance number later, and the tide has turned. Admittedly, this cultural sea change might seem a bit too contrived and overly sentimental were it not for the the empathy a viewer feels for all involved, the fact that the film is based on almost unbelievably real events, and the strength of the film's cast (Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Jessica Gunning particularly stand out).

In the end, both sides get more out of the arrangement than they expected. The community adopts a bigger world view. A woman recognizes her potential to become a leader.  A man comes to terms with his identity. A boy breaks away from his disapproving family. A couple grows closer. Friends begin finding their own way. And the LGBT community makes an unexpected and powerful ally. Despite showing the devastating effects of a year-long strike and the outbreak of AIDS, the film is an uplifting and moving examination of pride that leaves its viewers with renewed hope for the bridges left to be built.

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