Brassed Off

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

The English coal mining village of Grimley is in an uproar since the announcement of the mine closing, a common occurrence in recent years. Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) and his son Andy's (Ewan McGregor) relationship is suffering because Danny seems more concerned over his brass band's upcoming competition than the impending loss of jobs. The coal miners' brass band originated in 1881 in Grimley, and it's Danny's dream that they win the regional contest. When beautiful, talented Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald), the granddaughter of a former band director, comes to town, she's welcomed into the band. As families are torn apart in the face of financial doom, rehearsals intensify. Then the band learns that Gloria works for the management team that orders the mine closure. Adding to their dilemma, Danny discovers he is dying of the dread "black lung" disease. No fairy tale ending here, but the townspeople all come together, the band gives a show-stopping performance, and Danny becomes a hero. Brassed Off is a well-acted, entertaining adult film. The music alone makes it worth the price of admission.

Unfortunately, the English slang expression "brassed off" is our equivalent to "p off." Although the phrase is not spoken, it very aptly describes the town's feelings about their loss of livelihood. Other descriptive but tasteless expressions include 17 obscenities and four regular profanities. The miners are shown briefly in a shower scene that includes some full frontal male nudity, but the film has no sex scenes even though Gloria falls in love with another band member. Andy becomes so despondent when his wife and children leave that he attempts to hang himself. To earn money, Andy dresses like a clown and entertains at children's birthday parties, so it's particularly sad to see him in a clown suit nearly strangled to death. When Andy's trombone falls apart, he shows up at rehearsal and whistles his part out of respect for his ailing father. The often crude musicians gather late one night under Danny's hospital window with their miners' hats and headlights on as they play "Danny Boy." Their music becomes the catalyst for healing a whole town. What a shame foul language and brief male nudity foul an otherwise luv-er-ly story.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, New York, NY 10013

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: Several (7) times, All Moderate

Obscene Language: Many (17) times (s-word 4, f-word 6, other 7)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular (C 2, J 1, JC 1)

Violence: Once - Moderate (man seen hanging in attempted suicide)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once (brief frontal male in shower scene)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few crude references to women

Drugs: Alcohol drinking few times (men get drunk, beer drinking)

Other: English slang

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.