A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pride is a feel-good fact-based dramedy about a group of British gay and lesbian activists who supported the National Union of Mineworkers during the latter group's legendary year-long strike in 1984-1985. Since it's based on historical events, the movie will definitely inform teens about issues they probably didn't know much about, and it will reinforce the idea that successful sociopolitical campaigns and movements require alliances between different groups. There's some strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), sexual innuendo (including a shot of straight women joking about a sex toy and nudie magazine they find in a gay couple's bedroom), passionate kissing (both opposite-sex and same-sex, though mostly the latter), a hate crime beating of a gay character, and pushing and shoving between police and the striking miners. Adults also drink and smoke both cigarettes and marijuana on occasion. The movie's politics, particularly when it comes to the pivotal issues of gay rights and labor rights, are pro-Labour Party and anti-Margaret Thatcher.
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What's the story?
In March of 1984, England's National Union of Mineworkers went on strike to protest Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's plans to close down 20 coal mines. PRIDE follows the remarkable story of how the rural coal miners found allies from an unlikely quarter -- young gay-rights activists in London. The day of the Pride Parade, young, mostly closeted Joe (George Mackay) reluctantly decides to march and ends up hanging out with a small group of activists at a gay bookstore. Mark (Ben Schnetzer) believes that the gay and lesbian community should support the mineworkers by raising money to donate to a down-and-out mine town. He calls the newly founded group Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners, but their efforts are rejected time and time again. Then Welsh bookstore owner Gethin (Andrew Scott) recommends they try a town in Wales -- and the LGSM finally convinces a South Wales mining community in Onllym to take the money. The town sends union committee officer Dai (Paddy Considine) to London to collect the funds, and he then invites the LGSM to visit, causing initial conflict among the townsfolk but eventually leading to a mutually beneficial alliance.
Is it any good?
There's something magical about feel-good British movies that celebrate the proverbial underdog, like Billy Elliot and The Full Monty, and Pride is a brilliant, touching addition to that subgenre. Stage and screen director Matthew Warchus and screenwriter Stephen Beresford have captured the heart and humor of what happened when young, urban activists didn't just raise money but also really connected with the predictably closed-minded folks from a small mining town. The questions and comments that the older generation of Onllym citizens pose, while rooted in stereotypes, are adorably well-meaning -- like when a grandmotherly woman asks young lesbians if it's true that they're all vegetarians, or when a young man asks flamboyant Jonathan (Dominic West) if he'll teach him how to dance. The older folks eventually help their young counterparts as well, showing them that friendship should be unconditional and that they shouldn't give their whole lives to the fight.
The multi-generational cast is wonderful, with Schnetzer (so memorable as Max in The Book Thief) and Mackay (How I Live Now) as standouts among the up-and-coming actors and Considine, West, and Bill Nighy as scene-stealers among the more seasoned pros. This isn't a super-serious chronicle of the miners' strike or the English gay rights movement; the story doesn't dig too deeply into the reasons behind the strike, and it ends with the following year's Pride Parade, when AIDS is the dominant crisis of the gay community. But Warchus didn't set out to make a heartwrenching drama like The Normal Heart; Pride is exactly what it was meant to be -- a charming and unforgettable story of friendship and standing together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they learned from Pride. Did you know about the events depicted in the film? Does the movie make you want to learn more about that period of time? Do you think the filmmakers might have changed any facts? Why might they choose to do that?
Do you have to agree with the LGSM's politics to enjoy Pride? Do you think it's has a specific agenda? Does your enjoyment of the movie depend on your political views about gay rights or miners' rights?
What does Dai mean when he tells Mark not to "give it all to the fight"? What is the movie's take on standing up or for causes you believe in?
How does the movie portray alcohol and drug use? Are there any consequences? Should there be?
- In theaters: September 26, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: December 23, 2014
- Cast: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine
- Director: Matthew Warchus
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and brief sexual content
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