Brassed Off

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Brassed Off is a tiny little British movie about the coal mining town of Grimley, the Tory party’s coal mine closures, and the Colliery Band trembling on the edge of packing it all in. It may not sound like much, but it was a wonderful movie – “Pete Postlethwaite’s best film this summer!”

Pete Postlethwaite is really amazing as the colliery band leader – emotions track across his cheekboned face leaving deep footprints. Ewan McGregor (you know, Trainspotting alum turned young Obi-Wan Kenobi) is similarly translucent – if the sound had cut out of the film, we still would have known exactly what was going on, just by watching him and Pete.

Steven Thompkinson plays Postlethwaite’s son, a man in a terrible position in town, with more layers than an onion. Tara Fitzgerald is fine as Gloria, the Grimley native who is an outsider as well. My writing skills are insufficient in such a brief medium and without giving away plot points to fullt recommend this film. I don’t know much about Tory/Whig British politics or the Margaret Thatcher detractions, but the plight of these desperate miners does not need to have a political background to have power.

Brassed Off has a great deal of comedy as well, and at the beginning I would have descibed it as “sweetly funny,” but then the movie becomes much more than a catch phrase. You dialect hounds out there will fancy the Yorkshire sounds and music fans will love the band’s performances. The cast is filled with comfortable, real faces and viscerally real performances. Please go see it! Pay full price!

MPAA Rating R for language.
Release date 6/16/97
Time in minutes 107
Director Mark Herman
Studio Miramax