COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 59min
STARRING: Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Ben Schnetzer, George Mackay
Street-smart: from left: Fave Marsay, George Mackay, Schnetzer (with megaphone), Joseph Gilgun and Considine
From an on-impulse, rough-as-guts London start-up, a small group of gay men and lesbians calling themselves the LGSM — Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners — mushroomed into a seismic force in their support of Welsh miners who, in 1984, were striking against projected national closures of collieries. This really did happen in the darker days of British PM Margaret Thatcher’s iron rule and it is, no question, a chalk-and-cream-cheese saga of incongruous underdogs united, supportively told by director Matthew Warchus.
The story works on film in part because it’s a bit of a crack-up and more importantly because the tension of two worlds colliding in the dour Welsh village of Dulais is anything but a love-fest at first. Village identities Cliff, Dai and Hefina (Nighy, Considine and Staunton, all nicely underplaying) are grateful and accepting, but the majority of reactionary unionists aren’t having any tizz. Led by the mettlesome Mark Ashton (Schnetzer), the LGSMers press on, anyway, with a what-the-**** exuberance forged from a marginalisation they’re convinced the miners share. And they’re dead right: the fusion of two disparate halves into an offbeat whole is a triumph of style and substance.