Woo, what a great film*! So sentimental! So cheesy! So sweet! And it’s all set in the 80s, so, as we all know from experience, it’s obviously going to be all slushy and wrapped in awful wallpaper. It’s a two-hour film (don’t worry, it’s totally worth it) about a group of gay and lesbian rights activists who raise funds for a small mining town during the mining strikes. I hope I’ve got that right: I found the whole mining bit slightly confusing at the start of the film. Don’t believe the bad reviews, anyhow- it’s also feminist!
Is it a feminist film? Oh, how I squeal with childish glee recounting this! Yes- finally, a film so feminist that it scores 8/10 on my one-to-ten scale of feminism in films! This film is packed with great female characters- not only the lesbian activists from LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners), ONE OF WHOM ACTUALLY DECLARES “I AM A FEMINIST”, but also the women from the Welsh mining village- they defy their husbands, the men of the village, who are almost always the ones prejudiced against LGSM, and are smart and funny, often walking around in a group, roaring with laughter, and ignoring men who tell them not to do things. Two are especially notable: Hefina, played by the delightfully to-the-point Imelda Staunton, and Sian, an awesome woman who starts out as just as a wife and mother from the village and ends up driving vans, publicizing LGSM, defying her husband so that members of the group can stay in their house, and THEN she goes off to college and gets a degree. And the best part is- she’s a real person! All this stuff actually happened! Another great female character is Steph, pictured center with the orange hair, whose proud claim it is that she makes up the “L” part of LGSM. She’s strong and funny, and has a very sweet relationship with Gwen, an older woman from the village, who says her and her husband were married 44 years before he died, and she hopes Steph as many years with someone she loves, and for her to be as happy. Aw! So sweet!
Is it disturbing? A bit, but it’s not too bad. The police beat a few people up, but it’s more people’s reactions- both verbal and physical- to the gays and lesbians that is disturbing. But I’d say it’s definitely worth a bit of swearing and mean stuff to see this one.
And… does it pass the Bechdel test? Yes! Finally, a film that does! With all the sexist/boring/silent films I’ve reviewed recently, it feels great to find a film that passes the Bechdel test so well. And it’s funny too!
Note: This film also contains Andrew Scott, AKA Moriarty to anyone who has ever watched Sherlock. It’s very sweet. If I ever re-watch seasons one and two of said detective show, I think I’ll be convinced that Moriarty can’t really be a crazy psycho because- obviously!- he’s really a lovely gay rights activist from 1984. So that’s messed another viewing experience up for me a bit.
And… three posts in one day! Got to be a record, right?
*So great that, in fact, I actually bought a Pride badge that I saw in a shop! It’s got the little minibus from the film on it and everything!