The summer of 1984 was a challenging time for gay people and striking mine workers in the United Kingdom, but a new movie finds hope and even humor in telling the story of the struggles they faced together.
“Pride” is based on the improbable yet very real partnership between gay and lesbian activists and a group of Welsh coal miners who joined forces during a year-long labor dispute with “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government.
The R-rated film, which will be screening for free at Star Hall on Thursday, July 16, at 7 p.m., has been called a crowd-pleaser in the vein of “The Full Monty,” “Brassed Off” and “Billy Elliot.”
As the movie opens, Thatcher is living at 10 Downing Street and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, leading a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money for the miners’ families.
When the union rejects the group’s offer to help, the activists head off to a tiny mining village in Wales to make their donations in person. Over time, the villagers and the activists find a common purpose together.
Utah Film Center Development and Grants Manager Laura Berbusse is happy to bring the movie to Moab audiences.
“’Pride’ is an extremely crowd-pleasing film with a message that, although we might not encounter the same obstacles and goals, there is solidarity in the experience of human struggle itself,” she said. “Together, we can persevere if we aren’t afraid to ask for, and perhaps more importantly, accept help.”
Utah Film Center Outreach Coordinator Sallie Hodges said that anyone who attends the screening should be prepared to cry and laugh out loud.
“The story gets its heart from breaking down stereotypes and embracing humanity in all its wonderful diversity,” Hodges said. “It is a very nostalgic film to me as I came of age under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, whose government plays a huge role in this story for justice.”
Likewise, San Jose Mercury News film critic Randy Myers’ review of the movie says it will leave audience members with lumps in their throats and smiles on their faces. New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden calls “Pride” a descendant of the “morale-boosting British World War II movies that celebrated people pulling together in hard times.”
To the dismay of Thatcher’s fans and to the delight of her detractors, the late prime minister is portrayed as the movie’s chief villain.
As one Toronto Globe and Mail reviewer noted, a pro-union character in the film says Thatcher’s name with an inserted expletive that “sounds like venom itself uncorked.”
That character is played by veteran actor Bill Nighy of “Love Actually” fame, who is joined by a stellar cast that includes Paddy Considine, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton.
Vulture film critic David Edelstein says that “Pride” has one of the best casts of already-famous British actors, along with up-and-comers who will soon take their place on the silver screen.
Free movie comes to Star Hall on July 16
“’Pride’ is an extremely crowd-pleasing film with a message that, although we might not encounter the same obstacles and goals, there is solidarity in the experience of human struggle itself.”
When: Thursday, July 16, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
For more information about upcoming Utah Film Center screenings, go to utahfilmcenter.org/events/category/moab/upcoming/. Star Hall is located at 159 E. Center St.