Crowd pleaser waves a flag for Brit flicks

Aye Marsay (Steph), George Mackay (Joe), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Joseph Gilgun (Mike) and Paddy Considine (Dai) in Pride
Aye Marsay (Steph), George Mackay (Joe), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Joseph Gilgun (Mike) and Paddy Considine (Dai) in Pride

Theatre director Matthew Warchus, who succeeds Kevin Spacey as artistic director of the Old Vic next year, will need to de-clutter his awards-laden mantelpiece.

His second feature film is a barnstorming culture-clash comedy drama based on the inspirational true story of a group of gays and lesbians, who supported the miners during the 1984 strike and raised thousands of pounds for beleaguered communities, which dared to stand up to the Thatcher government.

This uplifting story of solidarity in the face of adversity and police intimidation is an absolute joy; an unabashed, irresistible crowd-pleaser in the magnificent mould of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot that rouses the audience to bellowing laughter while choking back a deluge of hot, salty tears.

Scriptwriter Stephen Beresford strikes a perfect balance between hilarity and heartbreak, sharing polished one-liners among the ensemble cast including Menna Trussler as a clucky old dear, who labours under the illusion that all lesbians are vegetarians.

Pride is a life-affirming ode to tolerance, acceptance and self-belief that defiantly lives up to its title, waving a flag for stellar home-grown filmmaking.