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Pride

It’s 1984, Joe (played by George MacKay) celebrates his 20th birthday at home in Bromley with his parents. They give him a birthday cake and a gift. But he’s got somewhere else to be so he races out of the house and catches a train to London. He emerges from the station and timidly joins his first Gay Pride march. He meets a group of gay men and their lesbian friend Steph (by Faye Marsay). They nickname him “Bromley” and take him into their fold. The group’s informal leader is Mark (by Ben Schnetzer) who’s never short of a few words and won’t back down from a fight when he feels strongly about a cause. This time, Mark’s heard about the strike involving the National Union of Mineworkers and the difficulties the miners face, seemingly being bullied by the Thatcher government. He sees strong alignment with his own group’s experience being gays and lesbians trying to fit in to society, so he takes up their cause. The group meets at a Soho bookshop run by the eldest in the group, Jonathan (by Dominic West) and his Welsh partner Gethin (by Andrew Scott). They set up “LGSM” – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – and start to raise money for the cause. They gain some notoriety then pick out the Welsh village of Onllwyn in the Dulais Valley to be the recipients of their efforts. The group makes contact with village representative, Dai (by Paddy Considine), who invites them to visit the village in person. Some villagers welcome them warmly, but most are not ready for the “gays” and clearly show their displeasure. Undaunted, Mark and LGSM continue to raise funds and awareness of the miners’ situation grows. The villagers are hard to convince and Mark gradually loses faith in his work. Will the villagers eventually see the good in what the group are doing, or will the efforts fall on mostly deaf ears and be wasted? …

This is an entertaining and compelling movie. The script and performances are marvellous thanks to a very strong cast and a well written screenplay. The village characters are wonderful – there are several, but I’d particularly mention Cliff (by Bill Nighy), Sian (by Jessica Gunning) and Hefina (by Imelda Staunton). The “gays” are lovely and the people in the village are portrayed authentically. It’s a very enjoyable movie, with wonderful lines of dialogue, particularly by the Welsh villagers. Several important messages come through too – speak up for what you believe in … be who you are … believe in yourself … loyalty runs deep … It’s inspired by a true story, which makes it even better. The movie is very well regarded and in the 2014 awards season it received the Ghent International Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Film and the Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm award. In the 2015 awards season it received a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Imelda Staunton received Best Supporting Actress from the British Independent Film Awards, and they awarded Andrew Scott with Best Supporting Actor; the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) awarded it the Dorian Award for LGBTQ Film of the Year and Unsung Film of the Year. Well done everyone.

Made in 2014. Directed by Matthew Warchus

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Movies

 

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Tyrannosaur

Joseph (played by Peter Mullan) is middle aged, unemployed and now lives on his own as his wife died five years ago. His life is joyless, his home in Leeds is in a dilapidated part of town and his patience is endlessly tested by the chatter of a local child and the constant barking of his neighbour’s dog. Prone to violent fits of rage, Joseph tries hard to control these, but he is a bitter, foul-mouthed, heavy drinker with little else in his life. One day, Joseph meets Hannah (by Olivia Colman) – she is so different to people he knows – she is gentle, religious, runs a charity shop and seems to see the good in all things. She even prays for Joseph and he can scarcely believe such a woman exists. (In fact, “Tyrannosaur” is the pet name he gave his overweight wife who made the house shake when she walked). Through circumstances, Joseph and Hannah encounter each other several times and, although Joseph has little interest in a social life, he discovers the real Hannah – which brings challenges that impact them both …

This movie is one of those magnificent British dramas where the slow burn and raw emotion really seeps into your mind. As you watch, the futility of life continues for this collection of people – nobody is happy and life offers little hope for change. From the opening scene, the cinematography depicts the bleak environment and evokes emotions about these lives – the surroundings are dingy, grey and austere. Everyone is negative and the general atmosphere is one of hopelessness. It is very well made. Peter Mullan’s Joseph is scary and authentic  – I have seen him in several movies (“Trainspotting”, “My Name is Joe” and “On a Clear Day” – all truly realistic and great performances) and I find he performs this type of role very well indeed. Olivia Colman’s gradual presentation of the complex Hanna is beautifully measured and very well done – we get to know her through the gradual exposure of her experiences. She is fascinating – balance this with Eddie Marsan’s performance as her seemingly mind-mannered, but cowardly and cruel husband – another commendable effort. There is actually a positive conclusion to the story, which is a nice way to end it. It is a confronting but good movie – however, be warned, don’t watch it if you feel like a ‘pick me up’.

Made in 2011.  Directed by Paddy Considine

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Movies

 

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