I’m not going to include any spoilers – because although it’s based in fact, many people, especially those of my age and younger won’t be aware of what happened – but I have to talk a little about just how powerful a film it is.
Britain in 1984 was characterised by polarities, both within the political sphere and the social one. It often seemed as if all there was were sides; you were a respectable citizen or you were one of those deviant gays, you were for or against the miners, you were for or against Thatcher. It was common for those who were openly homosexual to be attacked on the street and the emergence of AIDS had not helped matters. Set against this climate of fear, mistrust, anger and confusion is the story of what happened when two groups of marginalised, oppressed people came together and supported each other.
There were moments of humour that were laugh out loud funny, moments that made me want to punch the air in joy and moments that, for different reasons each time, brought tears to my eyes. It put a spotlight on what can happen if you believe strongly enough in doing the right thing and act on it, on what can be achieved by standing strong together. It didn’t seek to hide the problems – and there were many – of being “out” but neither did it sensationalise them. It showed, in a clear, unsentimental way what life at that time was like – for both homosexuals and the striking minors and their families – and as a result the emotional impact was devastating.
The directing was spot on – I didn’t notice the time passing, I was completely absorbed in the story and there wasn’t a single part that felt extraneous or stretched in any way – and the cinematography was stunning. Plus the cast were all excellent, each character pitched just right; there wasn’t a single person I didn’t find compellingly believable (special mention for Andrew Scott’s glorious welsh accent). There are some truly outstanding scenes that really stuck in my mind – I won’t say which ones now, although I might come back and add to this once it’s out of the cinemas – but they are simply the final sparkles on a film that already shines brightly.
I intend to see it in the cinemas again, and will be pre-ordering the DVD as soon as I’m physically able to. Seriously, it really is that good and I urge you to go and see it once it’s on general release – I promise you won’t regret it!
This film is set during the UK Miners strike of 1984 and based on the true story of what happened when a Lesbian and Gay group decided to support a mining community in South Wales. I went to a preview screening last night and boy, am I glad I did. It’s everything you could want from a film – funny, heart warming and believable, as well as being acted, directed and shot to perfection.