Pride is a comedy/drama based around real events of 1984 when Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government was engaged in a long and bitter battle to close twenty coal mines across Britain. The ensuing confrontation where members of the National Union of Miners struck for an entire year in defence of their livelihoods resulted in extreme hardship for the miners and their families. Pride focuses on a close knit community in Wales that is totally dependent upon the miners income for survival. After months on strike, poverty and deprivation is biting hard, tempers are frayed, patience is being tested and long standing friendships are giving way to mistrust and anger. Totally reliant upon meagre social security handouts, the community appears destined to disintegrate until a most unlikely saviour comes their way in the form of a group of gay and lesbian activists who take it upon themselves to raise funds in support of the miners and their families. What follows is a heart warming story based around compassion and understanding from both sides.
Miners familiar with the hard realities and dangers of their profession and accustomed to life within a small isolated village far removed from the liberal morays of London initially have nothing but contempt for what they perceive as ‘deviants’ wanting to interfere in their dispute with the Thatcher government. Hearsay, innuendo and prejudice based upon ignorance temper the miner’s views. Their sheltered beliefs run deep and their intransigence to accept help from the activists threatens to deny the community the only help being offered. The miners are literally friendless in their time of dire need but several amongst their number have the courage to stand fast and exhort reason in the face of prejudice. Wives of the miners join the chorus of reason and tolerance and a process of acceptance and understanding begins, ultimately leading to the most unlikely bonds and enduring friendships.
Pride reflects a metamorphosis; a story based on hardship, intolerance and prejudice that transcends to understanding that enriches all. The story is gripping, at times highly emotional and threaded with humour as players from two very different worlds interact. The performances are totally believable even though only two of the cast are well known (Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton). This is a story about ordinary people trying to overcome extraordinary circumstances surrounding hardships of the strike, personal convictions, prejudices and ultimately believing in one another. In every respect, Pride achieves these goals and in the process provides entertainment at its very best.
Pride was produced by CBS Films in 2014 and is now available on DVD.
Running time 120 minutes. Director Matthew Warchus. Screenwriter Stephen Beresford