Pride Review: Flamboyantly Cheesy

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There’s a point in Pride where the loud and proud score swells as people give a gay man a standing ovation for a to table-top dance routine that has the women swooning and the men begging him to teach them his moves. All I could think was, “this is just like Remember the Titans.”

Now I know, what does gay pride have to do with football besides Michael Sam and men in skin tight pants (I’ll be here all week)? Well, Remember the Titans also includes a number of scenes where the score dramatically swells and people have a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” grin at people coming together.

That 2000 football crowd-pleaser was just as much about prejudice as Pride is. But they also share strong casts and an overly sentimental tone that only occasionally works.

Pride follows a group of gay rights activists in London led by Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) that come out in support of striking miners in Wales back in 1984. But the movie boils down to old-fashioned small town folk having to get along with people who prefer the same sex. It’s heart-warming and the cast is strong, with acting royalty Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton giving excellent performances.

But the cheese factor prevents the film from going beyond that. In fact, Pride may be an indication that we’ve hit the saturation point on LGBT movies. 2014 has been a landmark year for gay cinema. With strong indie hits like The Skeleton Twins and Love is Strange being about so much more than being gay, and even a big budget blockbuster like X-Men: Days of Future Past exhibiting themes of equality, Pride feels a bit outdated. How could it not? It’s 2014, nine years after the landmark LGBT film Brokeback Mountain hit the mainstream. Things have in fact gotten better for the community over that period.

But much like how the Civil Rights Movement isn’t over, leading to films like Remember the Titans, the Gay Rights Movement still has a ways to go, leaving room for a crowd-pleaser like Pride to still find an audience that may not find it overdone.

That said, the film is still effective. The characters are fun to watch and the story explores a wide range of issues that encapsulate what it might have been like in the UK in 1984 to be gay, lesbian, or a miner out of work. A few cheesy moments, as wince-inducing as they might be, can’t ruin what is a very proud movie. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty


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