Heart Matters Film Screening

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In socially conscious Brit comedy-dramas of the late 1990s, like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot, exuberant self-expression provided a temporary antidote to the death of industries and the suffocation of the working-class communities that depended on them for their livelihood. A crowd-pleasing throwback to those films, Pride chronicles the reluctant romance between the workers and families involved in the bitter 1984 miners’ strike and a group of London gay and lesbian activists who were among their biggest fundraisers. Directed by theater heavyweight Matthew Warchus (Matilda), the film is funny, warm-hearted and enormously satisfying.

Watching TV news coverage of the National Union of Mineworkers strike over pit closures, and of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s unsympathetic response, impassioned young gay activist Mark rounds up buckets from his neighbors and convinces a few of his fellow marcher friends to collect cash to support the miners' families. One of those roped in is Joe, a nice suburban lad with one foot still in the closet.

The fight for LGBT rights would appear unrelated to the labor battles of the blue-collar wasteland, but Mark sees the virtue of solidarity among the marginalized and oppressed. He assembles a small group to raise money, making a persuasive case that they share the common enemy of Thatcher's conservative government and its policy of steamrolling the disenfranchised.

They pinpoint Dulais, a small mining village in South Wales, and set off in a van to make their gesture in person. But resistance in the homophobic community makes for a bumpy courtship. Pride has genuine heart and real affection for its characters, which makes it easy to smile or tear up at the many pleasures. The terrific actors all deliver, from dependable veterans to the fresher faces who bring infectious vitality to the early rallying scenes.

The '90s retro feeling is as much a part of Pride as the 1980s setting, yielding a nostalgic feel-good entertainment.


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