Brassed Off!
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As we were watching this movie, my husband pointed out that so many of the British films we’ve seen recently have a similar theme: finding the light in the middle of a dark situation.

Billy Elliot takes place in the middle of a miners’ strike—and Billy is a poor kid who lost his mother when he was young. But he discovers a love of dancing—and it becomes the one thing that gets him through the dreary days and gives him hope for better things to come.

In The Full Monty, the characters lost their jobs when their factory shut down. Their marriages are crumbling, and their lives are falling apart. So they decide to make money (and have a little fun) as strippers. Once again, it’s their hard work and passion that gets them through their dark situation.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Brassed Off! falls into the same category as movies like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot. The Grimley coal mine is in danger of being shut down, and it’s affecting everyone in town. Even the members of the Grimley Colliery Band, a Grimley tradition for generations, are losing their will to practice—despite the insistence of devoted bandleader Danny (Pete Postlethwaite).

The band’s hope returns when Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) shows up at rehearsal. Originally from Grimley, Gloria is in town on business, and her talent for playing the flugelhorn is just what the band needs to put them in competition for a national title. She just happens to be beautiful, too—and that’s enough to keep the rest of the band showing up for rehearsal.

Gloria’s return to Grimley also reunites her with band-mate and former high school sweetheart, Andy (Ewan McGregor)—but their re-blossoming romance is put in question when Andy finds out what, exactly, Gloria is doing back in Grimley.

Brassed Off! isn’t like your typical American romantic comedy. It’s rather bittersweet, and its humor is subtler—even a little darker—than what you may be used to in a romantic comedy. And it’s not exactly a hysterical pick-me-up kind of movie—one of those movies that you watch to cheer you up when you’re having a bad day. But somehow, in the midst of mines closing and characters losing their jobs and families falling apart, it still manages to be a feel-good movie that’ll make you smile in the end.

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