Directed by Matthew Warchus
122 mins, UK, 2014
My straight best friend badgered me until I watched this (“It’s reallllly funny!”, which until I did I had known nothing about. I enjoyed its optimistic if glib and revisionist take on recent history, but it did remind me how much I hated Thatcher (and Reagan) and there is a hint of what it was like to be openly gay and political in the early 80s, when our friends were just starting to die. (What most don’t know or don’t want to remember is that gay people hated the activists, too, or were simply indifferent.) There are a dozen better movies about this period but I still appreciate its idealism and its attempt to depict political bridge-building, which the tumblr kiddies now call “intersectionality” and we just called “common sense.”
I’m afraid to fact-check this movie, as I normally do any film that purports to be based on a true story. I want to believe it’s true, and I’ll take that hope over all the cynicism represented in most of the Oscar nominees of this and every year, whether it’s the rich-people-making-fun-of-other-rich people maneuvers in a fatuous indulgence like Gone Girl or the faux-avant-garde self-regard in a piece of shit like Birdman.
Side note: Bronski Beat’s Why? in the soundtrack and in a faked performance from the band in the film’s big fundraiser, has never sounded more angry, or more wild and beautiful.