Brassed Off! (1996)

“Fart in a Force Ten?”

Sue’s Rating: Apologies in advance to my friends and brethren in the U.K. No insult is intended, no guarantee of accuracy is implied.

Sue’s Review: Film goes summat like this. Bunch o’ blokes down t’the mine in th’ days of Maggie Thatcher, aye? An’ all their jobs’re due for th’chop since other types of energy are, shall we say, more cost effective and such than th’coal they’ve been haulin’ out o’th’ground and never mind that there’s bloody thousands of lads out of work. But aye, they’re makin’ out as best they can, and takin’ such pleasures as can be had to leave a man a bit o’ pride in himself – like their brass band which is a grand affair all told.

A bit of class is that band with a fine director in awld Danny (Pete Posthlewaite) himself a miner but as fine a maestro as you’d find in th’ London bleedin’ Symphony Orchestra. An’ it might be fair to say that th’odd bob still gets spent down t’the pub for a pint with the lads even though the rent’s due and the telly about t’be repossessed, but no harm in bending the elbow with your best mates in a bit of mutual solace, aye?

And then this bird shows up, a bit of all right, who plays the flugle herself and was, by all accounts, the love of young Andy’s (Ewan McGregor) life before she scarpered off t’university. Dream come true, she is, until the lads find out she’s bleedin’ management, doin’ a study on whether to close mine permanently or nowt, an’ that’s a tragedy for poor Andy, I tell thee straight, cause she’s a smashing bit o’ goods even if she do come across all posh and la-di-dah.

They’re good blokes all, mind you, but it’s going wrong and then worse when poor Danny finds himself in hospital with his lungs packin’ it in from the coal dust. And even his son, young Phil (Stephen Tompkinson) is at his wit’s end with his job gone an’ th’ missus leaving wi’ the kids, an him havin’ to put on a clown suit and perform at children’s parties and for what? Nowt, I tell thee. Nowt!

But somehow, Danny thinks it’ll all come right, as long as th’band stay’s t’gether and takes the champion cup down in London. An th’lads — they might know different, but it’s no simple thing to ruin a good mate’s dreams, even when your own are smashing down around you, aye?

It’s a sad tale, is this. Not a fairy tale, an’ don’t expect happy endings and such, but hope… Aye, a man can hope, can’t he? Worth a bit of a look this is, and no mistake.

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