Power in a union

Work­ers’ rights meet gay rights in this very en­joy­able – and deeply af­fect­ing – drama, writes Tara Brady

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM -

PRIDE ★★★★★ Di­rected by Matthew Warchus. Star­ring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Con­si­dine, Do­minic West, An­drew Scott, George MacKay, Ben Sch­net­zer 15A cert, gen­eral re­lease, 120 min

A film about the gay com­mu­nity’s support for strik­ers dur­ing the 1984 UK min­ers’ dis­pute sounds like a worth­while project. The news that Matthew Warchus’s film deals with real peo­ple and uses their ac­tual names – one fea­tured miner’s wife, Siân James, went back to col­lege and ended up as a Labour MP – makes the ex­er­cise sound even more good for you.

Worry not. So­cial his­tory just doesn’t get more fun than Pride. Yes, it of­fers a timely re­minder that sub­cul­tures and alt.com­mu­ni­ties weren’t al­ways in­ter­ested in join­ing the rul­ing elite. (In­deed, there was a time when the pri­or­ity was to club to­gether against that dom­i­nant class.) But this won­der­ful film – and this is meant as ro­bust com­pli­ment – al­ready plays like the foot-tap­ping mu­si­cal it is sure to be­come.

It comes as no sur­prise to learn that Warchus di­rected the hit West End pro­duc­tion of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. We have sev­eral lovely sto­ries wound el­e­gantly to­gether. Cracking mu­si­cal num­bers emerge dieget­i­cally. The cast is im­mac­u­late through­out.

Sport­ing an im­pres­sive dis­placed North­ern Ir­ish ac­cent, Amer­i­can Ben Sch­net­zer stars as Mark Ash­ton, a young gay man who, de­tect­ing common cause in the bat­tle against Thatcherism, urged his chums to gather money for the min­ers and, ul­ti­mately, travel to Wales and of­fer prac­ti­cal support. In the film ver­sion, they meet some re­sis­tance at first, but quickly come to a happy un­der­stand­ing.

Paddy Con­si­dine is funny and deeply touch­ing as Dai Dono­van, a min­ers’ leader, and Jessica Gun­ning shrugs pow­er­fully as Ms James. Space pro­hibits full dis­cus­sion of top turns by Imelda Staunton (lov­able stal­wart), Do­minic West (camp luvvie), and An­drew Scott (dis­placed Welsh­man).

There is, of course, a loom­ing sad­ness here. Watch­ing a film about gay men in the 1980s is not un­like watch­ing a film con­cern­ing young men in the days be­fore the first

Hands-on ac­tivism: Imelda Staunton gets down in Pride

World War. A big dis­ease with a lit­tle name is on the way. But Pride is a trib­ute, not any sort of som­bre memo­rial.

No de­noue­ment to any re­cent film has de­manded so much punch­ing of the air. It’s never too late to shout: “Mag­gie, Mag­gie, Mag­gie! Out, out, out!”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.