By Tim McEown

Mailed on September 25, 2014

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Dear Margaret F**king Thatcher

Dear Margaret,

While you may not have received a production credit, this film, and the bizarre historical circumstance it chronicles, would have never occurred where it not for you and your ridiculous, draconian policies.

I'm sure you must recall the circumstance in question: a seemingly fragile alliance between segments of London's Lesbian and Gay community and a group of Welsh miners and their families from the village of Onllwyn in South Wales. You did that, Maggie, with your simultaneous repression of the working class and anyone you saw as a 'deviant'.

Pride picks up midway through the UK miner's strike of 1984 with a small group of gay men and women in London finding common cause with the Welsh miners in a single televised moment. The movie then tells the story of how this particular relationship evolves and grows despite what might seem to be unmanageable differences: Cosmopolitan English vs. Rural Welsh, Dance Club vs. Bingo Hall. That the homosexual community didn't much care for you is no surprise. But I imagine it must unman you some to see what the solid, working class citizens of the Welsh coalfields ultimately made from this union.

Did I forget to mention Bill Nighy, Maggie? Despite playing a supporting role, his character, Cliff, is the human core of this film. He is the living memory of what coal and mining – both the good and the bad - has meant to the towns and villages of the North of England. In some ways the rest of the cast, despite being based on very real historical figures, are reduced to window dressing in a film that strives mightily to make a point. That is often a weakness in this kind of polemical fare, from Made In Dagenham to even something as well made as Ken Loach's Bread and Roses. The message, however legitimate, overwhelms the human stories to the point where characters sometimes feel like place holders. Dominic West as UK AIDS patient #2 is a prime example in this film. Still, there were certainly moments of real passion; for instance, an impromptu rendition of 'Bread and Roses" in the union welfare hall surprised more than a few tears from me.

You certainly understand what it is to make people into caricatures though, don't you Mags? You spent an entire political career doing just that. However, in this instance, with this story, it is not a fatal flaw. Pride is an uneven but ultimately enjoyable piece of working class cinema that will probably play very well with its constituency, which definitely includes me in those ranks.

For you, Maggie-darling, I'm hoping that this film is on perpetual repeat on whatever passes for cable in your particular district of Hell.

Yours so very sincerely,


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