What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fact-based drama deals with racism head-on from its very first scene, in which Terrence Howard's character, Jim Ellis, is the only African American at a swim meet in 1960s North Carolina. A scuffle breaks out, and he ends up striking a white cop. He encounters bigotry again in the '70s when he ends up coaching an all-black swim team: The team's wealthier white competitors sabotage and ridicule the black swimmers at meets. But the drama also shows Jim's team making "honky" jokes and goofing off instead of taking competition seriously. Besides the opening brawl, there's another altercation in a pool, when Jim nearly drowns the local drug dealer.
What's the story?
Set in the 1970s, PRIDE follows competitive swimmer-turned-coach Jim Ellis after he's turned down for a coaching job at an all-white academy in the affluent Philadelphia suburbs. Jobless, he takes a temporary gig cleaning up a Philly rec center that's scheduled to close. When he uncovers and refills the pool -- much to the amusement of center maintenance worker Elston (Bernie Mac) -- a few local teens decide to dive in rather than hang out in the parking lot. Thus begins the fledgling swim team, which single-handedly keeps the center open. Of course, when the team members show up at their first official meet in their rickety yellow bus (at the same academy that snubbed Ellis), the race and class divide that separates them from their competitors becomes as crystal as the Olympic-sized pool's water. Ellis is embarrassed at the team's showing, and the kids realize they'll have to fully commit in order to really compete.
Is it any good?
Terrence Howard is an actor of such gravitas that he lends a powerful authenticity to every role he plays. Which is lucky for Pride. As Coach Ellis, Howard saves an otherwise formulaic story (based on real events, no less) from turning into another trite sports drama. Anyone who's seen an inspiring sports movie can guess what happens when the Philly kids train hard, swim fast, and land at a national competition. But even knowing the outcome, viewers can't help but cheer for the underdogs' Pride.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the different forms of racism displayed in the film. Why wouldn't any of the other swimmers get in the pool with Jim? How are his experiences tied in with the American South's segregated past? Jim also deals with prejudice in the North. Are there any differences in the racist attitudes of both regions? What other recent films deal with racism and sports? Is bigotry still an issue in athletics in real life?
|Theatrical release date:||March 22, 2007|
|DVD release date:||June 26, 2007|
|Cast:||Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, Terrence Howard|
|Topics:||Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs|
|Run time:||108 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||thematic material, language including some racial epithets, and violence.|