Critics' Pick

Pride (R)

Drama 120 October 3, 2014
By Stephanie Zacharek
It says something about current global affairs that a movie set during the U.K. miners' strike of the mid-1980s -- an event that tore lives to shreds -- is likely to make you feel better rather than worse about the world. Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus, is a fictionalized account of how a group of gay and lesbian activists in 1984 London responded to Margaret Thatcher's attempts to crush the miners unions, temporarily sidelining their own battles to raise funds for the striking workers and their families. Pride is an unapologetic feel-good movie, which means it pushes many predictable buttons. But it's ebullient and good-natured even as it treads into somber corners -- all the action takes place at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic.

Ben Schnetzer plays Mark Ashton, a charismatic young activist who, just as he's ready to hit the 1984 Gay Pride march, catches a news spot about the miners' plight. Feeling an immediate kinship with these men and their families -- they too are struggling under Thatcher's thumb -- he begins collecting donations. Before long, Ashton and company have picked a Welsh mining town off a map, and a union lodge rep, Dai (Paddy Considine), comes to London to accept the money they've collected, not realizing that these benefactors seem to be nothing like him.

They are, of course, very much like him, as is confirmed once the activists head to Wales. Pride is all about the need for erasing minor differences and connecting over all the things that make us human, whether that's a love of music and dancing, the satisfaction that comes from a day of hard work, or the comfort of having family close by.
Matthew Warchus Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, George MacKay, Joseph Gilgun, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, Sophie Evans Stephen Beresford David Livingstone CBS Films

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