Movie Review: “Pride”, Starring Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy
Every year a ton of films, usually around awards season, play the “strong ensemble” card. Through frantic trailers and busy posters, they declare names with such ferocity that potential audiences are at a loss to determine anything about the film other than its cast. At best, the film usually ends up having four good leads with various supporting roles scattered around; at worse, you end up with the likes of Movie 43. A brief look at the Pride poster and one would be forgiven for expecting something in the middle. This couldn’t be further from the case.
Pride offers one of the best ensemble casts in recent years and by ensemble, we mean ensemble. Despite the large cast, more than half a dozen of the film’s characters are given notable story arcs, with numerous other smaller and yet no less established characters surrounding them. Not a single character feels underserved or shortchanged and as a result, they become the film’s greatest asset.
Based on the true and rather inspirational story of the group of gay and lesbian Londoners that banded together to support a contingent of society they believed were being as persecuted as themselves; Britain’s mining community during the Miner’s Strike of 1984 & ’85. Under the name of L.G.S.M – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – they raised funds to provide support for a small community in Wales during the course of the strike, despite numerous, inevitable set backs.
As mentioned, the characters are the true heart of the story. Stephen Beresford’s screenplay is truly brilliant, servicing each of the characters’ story lines in a way that is both concise and utterly satisfying, whilst the exemplary cast brings it to life in the most joyous fashion. From the well established talent of Imelda Staunton (Umbridge, OOTP & DH Part 1), Bill Nighy (Scrimgeour, DH Part 1) and Dominic West to rising stars, George MacKay and Joseph Gilgun, there isn’t a single dud performance. Even the newer cast members, Ben Schnetzer (a definite one to watch) and Potter alumni, Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown, HBP & DH Part 1&2), more than stand up to their co-stars, the former largely leading the story.
For those familiar with Pathé’s films – last year’s output included the Oscar and BAFTA nominated films, Philomena and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – Pride doesn’t deviate far from their typical docudrama formula but that certainly isn’t a criticism. An emotional roller coaster that will have you yoyo-ing from laughter to tears and back to laughter again, Pride is an uplifting tale of acceptance and solidarity and certainly not to be missed.
Pride opens in the UK on September 12th. USA release date TBA. Watch the trailer here.