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Pride

A feel-good British comedy about a 1984 alliance between striking coal miners and gay-rights activists

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Jessica Gunning and Dominic West take a twirl
  • Jessica Gunning and Dominic West take a twirl

Can you combine the following downbeat aspects of 1984 Britain — the bleak days of the miners' strike, the darkening clouds of AIDS and pervasive homophobia — into a feel-good film sure to make audiences cheerfully blubber and tap their toes to a forgotten Bronski Beat song? Logic says no, but Pride says yes!

Matthew Warchus' ensemble comedy (with just a splash of drama) is another in the canon of snuggly, inspired-by-real-events British films about plucky working-class people, portrayed with much crowd-pleasing brio by popular actors. Here, a group of gay-rights activists from London raise funds for a struggling coal town in Wales (true story!), and along the way, friendships are forged, prejudices are dispelled and one lucky lad gets a coming-out story all his own.

Actors among the "pits and perverts" (actual U.K. tabloid sobriquet for the unlikely alliance) include: Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy for the pits, and Ben Schnetzer, George McKay and Dominic West for the pervs.

It's all as predictable, cliché-filled and bombastically heartwarming as you'd expect, but in these fractured cultural times, it's nice to spend a couple hours with disparate people coming together for once, even if it happened three decades ago and reeks of movie magic.

And seriously, anybody who doesn't burst into happiness when the be-mulleted West wins over the grumpy miners by breaking into the best-worst disco dance down at the union hall just isn't human.

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