Lisa Schwarzbaum
May 30, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Brassed Off

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor, Pete Postlethwaite
director
Mark Herman
distributor
Miramax
author
Mark Herman
genre
Drama, Romance, Comedy

We gave it a B-

There’s a double meaning in the title of this folksy, relentlessly political, heavy-handed story, written and directed by Mark Herman and set among the coal mines of Yorkshire, England, in 1992. The fictional community of Grimley is rightly brassed off — that’s Brit for really cheesed — because its local mine is about to be shut down as part of Margaret Thatcher’s controversial pitclosure program. But meanwhile, the colliery’s historic brass band — composed of soon-to-be-unemployed miners — continues to make music in a gesture of defiance and pride. In the Name of the Father‘s Oscar nominee Pete Postlewaite turns in another eye-burning-with-passion performance as the band’s devoted conductor, hacking miserably with black-lung disease; Trainspotting‘s Ewan McGregor and Sirens‘ Tara Fitzgerald provide the romantic subplot. The cast is ardent as all get-out, but the most authentic emotional lift comes from the real-life Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band, blowing their hearts out. B-

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