Brassed Off! starts out like a predecessor to The Full Monty, only with trumpets instead of g-strings. It uses similar themes of British blue-collar hardship that Monty took to grand heights of wry humor a year later, but it switches from a light comedy to a heavier melodrama partway through, which may have prevented it from receiving a warmer reception. Still, all the ingredients are there for a generally uplifting tale that's charmingly acted, with lively dialogue full of clipped sentiments that are both funny and thoroughly British. It's probably a better movie for not resorting to easy answers to the massive mine closures, perpetuated by Margaret Thatcher's Tory party, that plagued the workforce in the early '90s. The dour moments, and there are a few, are true to history. Ewan McGregor heads up a cast that includes the lovely Tara Fitzgerald, plus a touching performance from Stephen Tompkinson as a die-hard union man at the end of his rope with his wife and creditors, forced to resort to a second career as a hapless clown named Mr. Chuckles. Pete Postlethwaite is the proud band leader, whose fiery climactic speech is quoted by the musical group Chumbawamba at the beginning of its power-to-the-people hit "Tubthumping." The Grimethorpe Colliery Band provides the score, by turns rousing and pensive, like the movie itself.