By Don Morton
April 2, 2015
It’s been said that it’s impossible to truly fight oppression without opposing all forms of oppression. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Such were the thoughts that, in 1984, led gay activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) to organize LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) to raise funds for the U.K.’s striking coal miners—whether they liked it or not.
The unlikely allies shared an enemy in Margaret Thatcher, and both were targets of police harassment. LGSM’s donations were at first spurned by the National Union of Mineworkers, but were eventually accepted by a small Welsh local when the wrong (or right) person answered the phone.
There ensues a series of culture-clash set pieces as a spirit of solidarity that gradually overcome fear and bigotry, and caricatures that become individuals. This hetero-friendly (and true) story is presented with the kind of seriocomic approach that made its cinematic cousins The Full Monty and Billy Elliot so enjoyable.
Great cast includes Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Dominic West, and George MacKay. Manipulative? Sure. Feel-good? Absolutely. Preachy? Never. It’s the kind of movie that has audiences applauding and misty-eyed at the end. I did, and I was. Japanese title: Parade e Yokoso. (120 min)