Review / ‘Pride’ (M) *** and a half

PRIDEREMEMBER “Brassed Off” and “The Full Monty”, films in which British underdogs confronted crisis and the establishment with novel solutions to current industrial problems? Weren’t they great fun?

So is Matthew Warchus’ film of Stephen Beresford’s screenplay about one oppressed minority joining forces with another in 1984.

In London, working out of a bookshop run by Gethin (Andrew Scott), gays and lesbians are collecting donations to support striking coal miners. Gethin, Mark (Ben Schnetzer) and Marion (Monica Dolan) understand how it feels to belong to an oppressed minority marginalised by their sexuality and laws that punish them for that. Joe (George MacKay), whose parents think he’s at special cooking classes, isn’t gay but he sympathises.

They choose the Welsh mining village of Onllwyn to benefit from their collection. There, gays and lesbians are initially unwelcome. The film is most of all about the slow replacement of opposition with acceptance, encouraged by union secretary Cliff (Bill Nighy), teacher Dai (Paddy Considine), housewives-with-a-conscience Sian (Jessica Gunning) and Hefina (Imelda Staunton).

But bigot Maureen (Lisa Palfrey) goes to the tabloid press to smear the growing amity between the two groups.

It matters little that “Pride” travels a path marked out by others. It’s agreeable, good-humoured and credible. And a film about working-class Welsh men and women would be incomplete without a hall-full of them singing something patriotic. Few do that better than the Welsh.

At Palace Electric, Dendy and Capitol 6

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