Movie Review: 'Pride' | Coal Miners And Gay Activists Partner In 'Pride' The film offers a rousing, true-life take on a British coal miners' strike that led to an unusual union. Critic Bob Mondello says the storyline blends Norma Rae with sillier, Kinky Boots-ish stuff.
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Coal Miners And Gay Activists Partner In 'Pride'

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Coal Miners And Gay Activists Partner In 'Pride'

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Movie Reviews

Coal Miners And Gay Activists Partner In 'Pride'

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Coal miners and gay activists - these are two groups you might have figured would steer clear of each other, at least in the past. But in 1980s England, they worked closely together. And that real-life story is now a film comedy called "Pride." Bob Mondello says "Pride" is proof of the old adage that politics does make strange bedfellows but not in a literal sense.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Maggie Thatcher's England - struggling coal miners are four months into a bitter strike. And a young Londoner named Mark feels a kind of kinship as he watches them on TV being harassed by the police.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRIDE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) In the face of unprecedented violence...

MONDELLO: Just like him and his gay buddies, he thinks. So while making plans for a gay pride march, he urges his fellow activists to form a minor support league.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRIDE")

BEN SCHNETZER: (As Mark) What we need is cash.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Yeah, because the miners have always come to our aid, haven't they?

SCHNETZER: (As Mark) Doesn't matter. It's the right thing to do.

MONDELLO: The right thing and, it seems, an easy thing. Mark's little group manages to raise quite a bit of money. But then they can't get the union to accept it. As soon as they say who they are, the union reps hang up on them. So they pick a Welsh mining town at random and call the union just using initials - L.G.S.M., lesbians and gays support the miners. And a rep, who ends up being slightly startled, comes to meet them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRIDE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As rep) I thought the L was for London - London something. This money you've raised, that's all from gays and lesbians?

SCHNETZER: (As Mark) Mostly.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As rep) Well, I'm not going to pretend I'm not surprised. You can see that. Truth told, you're the first gays I've ever met in my life.

SCHNETZER: (As Mark) As far as you're aware.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As rep) That's true.

SCHNETZER: (As Mark) And you're the first miner I've ever met.

MONDELLO: It's one thing to talk to a union organizer, of course, another to work with the workers themselves. When Mark and his buddies head to the Welsh town, everybody's weary.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRIDE")

SCHNETZER: (As Mark) I think I'm starting to freak out slightly.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Guy, your gays have arrived.

MONDELLO: And while the organizer figures things will be better when they get to know one another, nobody's mingling at first.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRIDE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Get out there and find a gay or a lesbian right now.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) I don't want to give them the wrong impression.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Oh, right because you're so bloody irresistible.

MONDELLO: I went to "Pride" expecting a straight-up culture-clash comedy, but it morphs into something a smidge more complicated. Britain has a history of social comedies - "Brassed Off", "Billy Elliot", "The Full Monty"- and "Pride" is angling for pride of place among them. Its labor union storyline conjures up memories of "Norma Rae," but here they're blended with sillier stuff. Director Matthew Warchus cut his teeth in the theater, and you can feel the rhythms of musical comedy sneaking into his staging here. One scene is pretty much a full-on dance number with wallflower wives and disco queens finding common cause at a union social that gets unexpectedly boisterous.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAME, SHAME, SHAME")

MONDELLO: The filmmakers are not naive. Some bigots remain bigots in the film. Some do-gooders stay annoyingly self-righteous. But the film's high spirits are genuinely infectious. And it says something that 30 years after the events it depicts, "Pride" should feel so unexpectedly rousing. I mean, people cooperating across ideological lines, finding common cause with folks they don't 100 percent agree with? What a concept. I'm Bob Mondello.

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