Being gay (yes I i know big shocker) and also experienced in the analysis of telling stories whenever I watch a film I’m always really excited when I see a character who is obviously LGBTQ+.
According to GLAADS 2016 Studio Responsibility Index only 17% of characters shown on television or film are identified as LGBTQ and if you read more into the statistics you’ll see the quality (or accuracy) of depiction is enormously varied, mostly containing negative or outdated stereotypes.
This entire thought process got kickstarted recently when my UK friends sat me down for one of our now traditional Sunday movie nights and more or less volen-told me we were watching a film called Pride. Having now lived in Wales for a not insignificant amount of time and having also made strong connections in Cardiff’s LGBTQ scene they said it was something close to blasphemy for me to leave the UK without seeing this movie.
The 2014 movie, directed by Mathew Warchus and featuring some prominent British actors (including Andrew Scott, Imelda Starunton and Bill Nighy) Pride tells the story of how, in 1984, a group of Gays and Lesbians based in London raise money for the striking coal miners of a South Wales village.
Going into this movie with only foundational knowledge of the transpiring events (sorry my Canadian is showing) I was happily surprised at how light hearted and heartwarming the story was. Obviously it having to navigate some dark and serious themes surrounding the treatment of the LGBTQ community in the 80’s it did so in a thought provoking and appropriate way.
One of my biggest problems with LGBTQ+ representation in todays society is that, when producing a movie or television show it is easy to boil down complex character traits into easily mass consumable stereotypes. What, I feel, that Pride does so well is introduce the characters but give them flaws and struggles that I, as a LGBTQ+ person, can relate to in a human and natural way.
The story is at once a historical drama and feel good comedy because all of the characters existed and events took place. Obviously some creative licence was given to emphasize the drama but I always love learning bits of LGBTQ+ history that I hadn’t known previously.
It may be a strange or uncomfortable thing to realize for someone who has never had to think consciously about representation but it is my belief that representation of minorities in mainstream culture is vitally important. It gives a voice to a group who may not have it and it validates individual experiences which may not be felt in the majority populace.
Pride is an excellently implemented story with a never ending stream of cute / awkward moments. At it’s core there is a story which highlights the idea that prejudice is taught and if we are able to just sit down and talk it’ll become apparent that we are all simply human.
Photo Credits : http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/reviews-recommendations/film-week-pride
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