Monday, October 20, 2014

Why no American studio would make "Pride"

I saw just one movie last week on my vacation, the British import "Pride." I'd say Roger Moore, the critic we often use for wire-service reviews when I don't see a film, undervalued it a bit; I enjoyed this early-'80s tale, inspired by a real-life alliance between gay rights activists in London and Welsh coal miners. But the realization that struck me afterward made me sad: Nobody in America would have made this movie.

Why? Three reasons.

First, it shows obvious pro-union sympathies. We like to think of Hollywood power players as unregenerate leftists, but how often do they make films about labor movements? "Little man/woman takes on the system" stories are always popular. But a movie about striking miners being starved out by their government? Not bloody likely.

Second, one of the heroines is fat. And smart. And bold. In America, fat women in movies can be objects of hilarity, sassy best friends, maternal types or desperate loners. They can't be intelligent leaders who also have well-adjusted lives as moms or wives.

Third, the picture doesn't end with the lonely lesbian finding a girlfriend and the just-out-of-the-closet guy marching off to a happy future. (He's happier because he is out of the closet, but he's on his own and nearly broke.) Nor does the main bigoted character have an epiphany.

We don't deal in ambiguity in America; we like stories tied off with neat bows, with the virtuous people all rewarded and the wicked punished. Hollywood knows that and keeps them coming.


Anonymous said...

How about they wouldn't make that movie because it sounds like a terrible movie? I would rather pound my fingers repeatedly with a hammer than spend precious moments of my life watching that movie.

Lawrence Toppman said...

I'm pretty sure nobody will kidnap you and drag you to the theater, so your fingers are safe. But pretty much all Adam Sandler movies sound terrible when you relate the plots, and they get made every year.