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Monday 10 April 2017


Review: Pride

Posted in: Movies
By Jay Bennie - 17th October 2014

Pride
Starring: Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy

Written by Stephen Beresford
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Screened as the first night of the Academy Conemas' LGBTQ Movie Night


Pride_350w.jpg
Family commitments have slowed down the writing of this review, but that, as it turns out, has been a good thing.


Because it's given me the time to appreciate just why viewing the first movie of the Academy Cinemas’ LGBTQ Movie Night series in Auckland last Saturday night was such a good night out.

Firstly the movie. Pride is a charmingly re-enacted true-ish story which pitches itself somewhere between Billy Elliott and Kinky Boots. Two cultures, one gay and artistic and the other staunch and working class collide but in the end things work out ok.

In this case a small group of 1984 big-city gay rights activists donate money to the striking coal miners in Thatcherite Britain. Wonderful, human performances all round, nice but not remarkable script and direction which is content to remain in the background, letting the main story and the characters reveal themselves.

The gay activists seem to have no blood relations to speak of, we see them solely in the context of their close-knit homo family. The only one with an actual mum and dad is desperate to leave their oppressive and shallow suburban niceness behind to come out and get involved in glbti affairs and friendships.

The miners are a family too... generations of grim, dangerous work in the Welsh valleys have built an enduring group-reliance, where everyonme knows everyone's business and everyone stands strong against the comon enemy... the constant danger, isolation and the pit bosses.

Bring all that together with the talents of an immaculate British cast headlined by the truly excellent Imelda Staunton and the reliable Bill Nighy and Pride is well worth watching. For those with a historical bent the parallels between what happened in Britain regarding the unlikely eventual support of glbti equality by unions and their party of choice, Labour, have some remarkable parallels in the NZ experience of the campaign for decriminalisation and human rights.

But there's a third sense of family which made Saturday night a wonderful experience. In this age of devalued friendship with hundreds of 'friends' made by the click of a Facebook button and increasing 'personal' interraction facilitated through a keyboard or swipe screen it was just so good to watch this excellent movie in the company of a heap of other glbti people of all ages, sexes and sexualities.

For instance, the guys chuckled at the sudden up against the wall pash (see the movie, you'll understand) while the lesbians roared with laughter and appreciation. That was the thing, we all saw Pride not only through our own eyes and experiences but through the reactions of others. It was fun to hear the young lesbians laughing, to hear the old guys whispering "yes, that's the way it was here too" and the newly out taking it all in, enriching their growing sense of the shared experience of coming out and living as glbti people.

In short: excellent move made even better by being watched in the company of (glbti) family. The next Academy Cinemas’ LGBTQ Movie Night is about a month away with a date and movie yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned to GayNZ.com for details.


- Jay Bennie



Jay Bennie - 17th October 2014

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