Jan Wahl Movie Reviews: ‘Pride’ And ‘Last Days In Vietnam’

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews “Pride,” starring Bill Nighy, based on the true story of a Welsh town’s fight for LGBT rights during the reign of Margaret Thatcher, and “Last Days in Vietnam,” a documentary from director Rory Kennedy chronicling the U.S. military’s chaotic evacuation during the final weeks of the Vietnam War.

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PRIDE (R) 120 min

When movies are based on actual events, they can enlighten, educate and inspire. But sometimes, they can exploit and exaggerate. Once in a while we get lucky with the former. “Pride” is a film that’s not only is based on reality, but leaves us feeling better about the world. The year is 1984 and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is at war with mining unions all over the U.K. At the same time, a small but earnest gay population is fighting for human rights. A decision is made within the LBGT Community: Let’s join the striking miners, beginning in a small town, and show the world that we are on the side of the oppressed. When this group ends up in a small mining town in Wales, they meet traditional, confused and even outraged people though some, like the characters played by Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, welcome them. It’s a story that reminds us of our similarities instead of our differences, of our compassion and ability to help others.

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LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (not rated) 98 min

This is a documentary about the 1975 evacuation of Vietnam told with clarity, and often unfamiliar archival footage, from filmmaker Rory Kennedy. There are heroes, villains and a few people in between. Many try to get American supporters out safely but others, unable to do so, are forced to live with those nightmares for the rest of their lives. I saw this with a Vietnam Vet, and it was very hard for him to watch. A strong, powerful documentary.

SEE NOW: CHEF, BOYHOOD, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD, MY OLD LADY

DVD: IDA, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, GODZILLA

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