Pride (2007)

Makes Michael Phelps look like a bitch.

Coach Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) changes lives and shocks his Philadelphia community when, aided by a janitor (Bernie Mac), he sets out to form the city’s first black swim team. The story follows Ellis as he recruits teens in one of Philly’s toughest areas and transforms the streetwise youths into a championship squad. But the odds are against them as they battle rigid rules and racism.

I use to be a lifeguard and in order to become one for my small community, I actually had to go through some swimming lessons. Not an easy task people.

The one point that Pride gets right off it’s chest in the beginning, is the racial tensions within sports, mainly swimming. I have seen so many African-American takes on plenty of sports, like football, basketball, and even baseball. But swimming? I have never seen this take on swimming before, and I must say it kept me really involved because there was a lot of entertaining moments in this film.

However, the main problem with this film is that it does follow just about every sports cliche you have ever seen in any sports film. There is a lot of those racism points you would come to expect from a film like this, and none of them were really any different from what I have seen before. You get some cheesy moments here and there, but not too many to ruin your time with this film.

I think I just liked the overall pace and feel of this movie. It is very inspirational and works well, but not once does it actually say that these African-Americans are more special than any other human being. You don’t deserve respect right away, you earn it, and I liked that element of this film because it is less preachy than I would have expected. Also, the swimming scenes will keep you involved and actually having a good time despite the cliches.

Terrence Howard is the man in almost everything he does and his performance as Jim Ellis here, is no different. He’s sweet, subtle, and overall a believable guy. Howard doesn’t turn him into a saint-like man, he’s just a complex and complicated guy that just loves to swim, and wants nothing more but to live out his dream with this team. Bernie Mac also shines as Elston and provides a lot of the funnier moments here, proving that he always was a comedy legend. Kimberly Elise is also very good here as Sue Davis, who at first seems like she’ll be terribly unlikable, but soon starts to see what this swim team is doing for the community. Then, that’s when we start to like her. The rest of the cast of several unknowns is actually very good, and handle their roles very well, as well give each character their own personalities.

Consensus: Pride may have its numerous amount of cliches and predictability, but features stellar performances from the cast, and will give you that inspirational feel to it, as it should.



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