MPAA Rating: PG
Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Kevin Phillips. Sports drama. Written by Michael Gozzard, K. Michael Smith, Millis Goodloe. Directed by Sunu Gonera.
FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on true events, the film tells of an African American swim coach who recruits troubled teens onto a Philadelphia swim team. Terrence Howard stars as Jim Ellis, a concerned man who affected lives with his determination and caring spirit.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Like every other entry into the sports genre, Pride has an outline that adheres to an uncompromising steadfastness. Heres that format:
Attitude is leading a young group astray
A tough-but-good-hearted instructor is introduced to the group
They form a team, but get beaten due to their attitude
The tough-but-good-hearted instructor gives them THE SPEECH
They begin to take their sport and each other seriously
Hope is on the horizon
Then obstacles test them
Then they win by one last ditch effort shown in slo-mo.
These films are as alike as nickel heads, but if done right, they involve and entertain and even teach. Pride gets it right. Nothing new, absolutely nothing, yet it has an energy, characters you care about and the tough-but-good-hearted instructor is played by Terrence Howard, an actor of great magnetism. Like Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Sidney Poitier, Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Crash) is a class act, a good actor who takes his profession seriously. And he is terrific, here.
The film has several good themes, including facing life, not quitting, showing resilience and the need for education. It also addresses a painful reality: the bigotry shown to African Americans even as late as the mid-1960s. Ellis own coach, a white man, is portrayed as a good guy who obviously judges others without bigotry. Just about all the other whites featured, however, are downright villainous in their speech and behavior. Seeing the film with a mixed audience, I sensed resentment from the black members, who, as the underdogs finally became victorious, clapped with a fierceness that suggested suppressed rancor. I wondered if that resentment would ever be completely vanquished. Its a scar that may eventually heal, but I fear will never completely disappear. Mankind has many scars to remind todays generation of the wrongness done out of a prejudiced judgment. Will they learn from the mistakes and misjudgments of their ancestors?
Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.
Crude Language: One fairly tame sexual conversation.
Obscene Language: A black man refers to others with the N-word; eight or so uses of the s-word and several minor expletives (damns, hells, ass)
Profanity: I caught no misuse of Gods name or Christs.
Violence: A drug dealer who rules the neighborhood finally crosses the line and is beaten by the coach, who later repents for handling the situation with violence. The villain trashes the center and is seen from behind urinating in the pool.
Sex: The drug dealer is also a pimp, with two prostitutes on his arm, but this lifestyle is not glorified.
Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None
Drugs: There are a few references to drugs, as the antagonist is a dealer, but none of the lead characters do drugs.
Running Time: 104 minutes
Intended Audience: Preteens, teens and adults
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