Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Pride Revisited

I don't usually write a second post for a film, but I need to make an exception this time, because, in spite of my positive review the first time, I got it wrong (and Janelle got it right). 

My Third Way Cafe review of Pride (now found at: http://thirdway.com/pride), which I watched last October, was overwhelmingly positive, noting that the film’s key themes were empathy and the power of solidarity and that it had one moving scene after another. But watching the film back then in an almost-empty theatre at a particularly stressful time obviously impacted my appreciation for this film, which I awarded only ***+ (though I did note that I almost gave it **** and that it would have made my top ten list in any other year). It did not impact my daughter (Janelle’s) appreciation of the film because Pride was her favourite film of 2014. It was also Walter’s fifth-favourite film of 2014. I did not remember those facts when I watched Pride for the second time (in a theatre) at the marvellous Movies and Meaning Film Festival in Albuquerque this past weekend. 

This time I was surrounded by 250 people who enjoyed the film immensely, though no more than I did. I have rarely enjoyed a film this much more the second time around than the first (and I did love it the first time). Every scene in Pride is pure movie magic. I could hardly stop crying. And yes, it may have some flaws related to structure and predictability, but those flaws pale beside the magic, the humanization and the inspiration. And this is where a sympathetic audience is helpful. Pride is an incredibly inspiring and humanizing story. And even the one character I complained about in my previous review was not handled in a typical Hollywood way. The fact that she was not redeemed is not as important as the fact that she was not punished.

With the help of an extraordinary ensemble cast, Matthew Warchus (the director) and Stephen Beresford (the writer) have turned the true story of the support of lesbians and gays for striking miners  in the UK in 1984 into a masterpiece for our time. 

Indeed, I came away from my second viewing of Pride thinking there are few films more important for our time than this one. Not only am I now giving it the solid **** it deserves, I am making it my second-favourite film of the year in what was, for me, the greatest year in the history of cinema. If you have not yet seen Pride, find it and watch it, preferably with others. It is an absolute treasure that should be seen by all.

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