Film review: ‘Pride’ is that rare comedy-drama that works on both counts

The ladies of Pride enjoy the movie’s feel-good vibes. Odds are you will too.
Jeffrey M. Anderson

Three stars

Pride George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton. Directed by Matthew Warchus. Rated R. Opens Friday.

Lately, it seems that every couple of months we get a new movie in The Full Monty mode: a sweet U.K. comedy-drama about plucky working-class folks who do something terribly out of the ordinary to save the community; in the process, several of the stuffier characters usually learn to lighten up and love life. Directed by Matthew Warchus (whose only other film is the forgotten, 15-year-old Simpatico), Pride is probably one of the better examples, leaning less toward cuteness and a bit more toward earnestness.

Based, as these things often are, on a true story, the movie tells of an extended miners’ strike in Wales in 1984. A gay activist (Ben Schnetzer) theorizes that the miners are treated the same way gays and lesbians are, so they pitch in to help, with the predictable friction and warm fuzzies resulting. George MacKay plays the shy newcomer into this world, and veterans Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton bring some genuine dignity.

Warchus and screenwriter Stephen Beresford spend perhaps too long handing out life lessons to a large number of colorful characters, but the even-handed and sympathetic direction, and a respect for place and time, helps win the fight.

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