Pride Movie Review
Pride is a movie that never appealed to me when I saw the previews for its theatrical release. After all, it looked like yet another black man underdog sports movie where a bunch of ragtag kids are pulled together and taught the meaning of success under a passionate coach, face a bunch of racial conflicts along the way, and eventually come out victorious at the end. There have been plenty of movies like this in recent years and over the last several decades; Pride just replaces football or basketball with swimming.
However, I forgot one important thing: the formula works. I never learn, but I should always tell myself that you should never doubt a sports movie. No matter how cliché, contrived or unoriginal the story is, sports movies can still be quality entertainment, and Pride is no exception. While certainly not a classic sports movie by any means, it definitely is a pretty good drama that moves along at a fast pace and leaves you rooting for the good guys to find success.
Pride stars Terrence Howard as Jim Ellis, a real man who loved to swim but faced racism so much in his younger years that he rarely was able to compete. Now a grown man, he winds up with what seems like a dead end job at a community center that is going to be shut down in a couple of months. Falling a part at the seams, the community center is largely neglected by the neighborhood. One day, Jim manages to recruit several local boys and one girl into an informal swimming team, and ends up making a real competitive force out of them, if only they can get past the racial tensions and stereotypes that are a result of misconceptions on both "sides".
The movie is about what you'd expect, a blend of some minor drama, lots of training sequences, a few inspirational speeches, one or two very bad performances by the swimming team and eventually a final showdown with the rich, white school led by none other than Tom Arnold. Pride isn't very original, but it is still a true story, at least roughly, so it can get away with it. Furthermore, the movie builds a fine set of characters that really have you cheering at the end, even though director Sunu Gonera isn't particularly good at making swimming sequences suspenseful. While I'll admit that swimming isn't quite as easy to make exciting as certain team sports, I'm sure someone could have made the competition sequences a tad more nail-biting, and that alone could have taken Pride to the next level. As is, Pride is a good sports movie without any great sports moments.
Pride is fun little drama that offers a good performance from Terrence Howard, and is certainly worth watching if you're into movies about people rising above adversity to make something of themselves. The only key ingredient it is missing is some high-powered swimming sequences, but even as is the film is fairly entertaining.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.