Pride Movie Review
The feel-good drama-comedy Pride, about a group of gay activists who decide to help miners on strike, is a light, breezy and entertaining affair, held back only by its overload of characters and somewhat scattershot storytelling approach.
Nominated for a Golden Globe in the dreaded Best Musical or Comedy category, Pride stars the likes of Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine and a very flamboyant Dominic West (funny because I primarily remember him as the straight arrow from HBO’s “The Wire”), as well as a bunch of younger British actors not as well known across the pond. The movie is based on a true story but draws much of its entertainment value from the culture clash between urban homosexuals and small town blue collar workers.
Pride is fun to watch, but it’s not one of those movies that will leave much of a lasting impression on you one way or the other. Generally lighthearted, it refuses to sink its teeth into you, opting for a glossy, positive-for-positive’s-sake portrayal. You’ll laugh, or at least chuckle, and you’ll appreciate the story, but that’s about it.
The movie lacked focus for me, and I don’t think it was because I was three or four drinks into New Year’s Eve at the time of viewing. It takes a quasi-ensemble approach to the cast, but that decision leaves the story disjointed. As a result, the movie occasionally sputters and fails to fully flesh out even a few of the menagerie of characters.
The central character, or at least the one who is supposed to provide an outsider’s perspective to the story, is Joe, played by George MacKay. But the narrative doesn’t run through Joe, not really; you don’t experience what he does, see what he sees, feel what he feels. He’s just there, and his arc--leading to him finally coming out of the closet--is shrugworthy. There is also Mark (Ben Schnetzer), the group’s leader, who is probably the most memorable of the bunch. But he isn’t given a lot to do other than get overly excited about various things. Other characters are treated the same way--aside from a few minor characters becoming more accepting of gay people, no one really changes, grows or allows you to see their inner workings.
Pride is fun, entertaining and worth watching, but with some tightening and focusing it could have become something much more than what it is: a lighthearted drama that refuses to throw any real punches.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.