I used to have this list of "Happy Movies," with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amelie" as the poster child. The idea was to find movies that were not only really good but also not depressing. Just take a look (I'll wait) at any list of "Best Movies," and I bet you'll find that better than 80% of them are depressing as hell. So, while I'm no longer doing much about keeping up that list, it's a real pleasure to see a movie that could be on it. I enjoy comedies, but often the plot is nothing more than an excuse to nail together a series of skits - sometimes by physical comedians whose acting skills are limited. When a comedy has a good plot and some of Britain's best actors ... worth a look.
This movie is based on the rather long 1984-85 British miner's strike, and their unlikely support by another group of people often harassed by the police: lesbians and gays. The movie opens with the young and innocent Joe Cooper (played by George MacKay) stumbling through London's Gay Pride parade: it's initially unclear if he even meant to be there. His journey with LGSM ("Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners") allows him to act as the audience's surrogate. Having gathered a fair bit of money and been soundly rejected by the Miner's Union, the LGSM eventually simply picked a small town in southern Wales hard-hit by the strike and offered their help directly. The culture clash and slow integration is played out perfectly, with humour, anger and joy. They dragged out one of the oldest jokes in the book ("Listen, we don't mind the gays, and the lesbians, that's fine. But don't you dare be bringing people from North Wales down here!") and even as I recognized it I fell out laughing because it was delivered so perfectly. I defy you not to enjoy this movie.