Synopsis by Mark Deming
Economics and music are the twin focal points of this comedy/drama about a community in crisis. The small British town of Grimley has long been dominated by the coal mine where most of the men work, and the town's greatest source of pride is the Grimley Colliery Band, a brass ensemble that's won a number of nationwide competitions. Danny (Pete Postlewaite) is a retired miner in poor health who directs the band; a national championship is coming up, and Danny is determined that Grimley will walk away with a trophy. But many of his musicians have other things on their minds: word has it that the mine may soon close down, and, in a city already suffering an economic downturn, this is just short of a death sentence. Adding to the intrigue is the return of Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald), who used to live in Grimley and is back in town for a while on an assignment. While the band has traditionally been all-male, Danny considers bending the rules to allow Gloria in the band, as she's a fine fluglehorn player, but her presence is bad news for the town: she works for the government and is investigating the feasibility of closing down the mine. Ace trumpeter Andy (Ewan McGregor) also has mixed feelings about Gloria; they were once a couple, and he still has feelings for her, but he's not sure he wants to set himself up for another breakup. The real-life Grimethorpe Colliery Band performs on the soundtrack.
band [music group], blue-collar, coal-miner, laborer, mining-town, unemployment, working-class, musician, brass-instruments