The choreography of dreams

The choreography of dreams

Review: Ballerina

(G) Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen

To dance on rooftops with the backdrop of the emerging City of Lights, is a dream that the new family animation, Ballerina, delivers to the audience. In fact, Ballerina is all about chasing dreams.

With the film industry being drenched with remakes it’s always refreshing when an original storyline is brought to the table. Ballerina is a heart-warming adventure that follows two best friends Félicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) and Victor (voiced by Dane DeHaan), who escape from an orphanage in rural Brittany with high hopes for a better future.

Félicie is determined to be a ballerina at the Paris Opera and Victor hopes to be a legendary inventor.  So naturally they end up in Paris circa 1879, when the iconic Eiffel Tower was only halfway built.  Separated after they arrive in Paris, Félicie stumbles into the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera. As she sees a celebrated ballerina on stage, it is enchanting to watch Félicie’s dream being truly realized. For a chance to join the dance school and audition for the Paris Opera, Félicie takes on the identity of an upper class and bratty rival Camille (Maddie Ziegler). Sneaking her way in, Félicie is confronted by a dance class that is full of ruthless competition. With no technique but a whole lot energy and determination, Félicie enlists the help of enigmatic caretaker, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen).  So begins her training, think Mr. Miyagi wax on/wax off style.

The use of “key frames” of two real star dancers of the Paris Opera, Aurélie Dupont and Jérémie Bélingard, made each dance sequence in the animation more realistic. With the animation capturing the elegance of ballet, it is hard not to be mesmerised by the pirouettes and grand jetés. It may not be in the same league as Disney but for an offering from smaller studio, the film does well to stand on its own.

For Félicie dancing is not a want but a need and you can’t help but feel for her when she gets knocked down. Her journey will resonate with for anyone who has experienced the sting of failure and trying to figure out how to bounce back. All of this occurs while humour is trickled throughout the movie making it enjoyable for kids and parents alike.

Canadian musician, Carly Rae Jepsen (singer of Call Me Maybe) was a surprise inclusion as she delivered a soft yet tortured voice of Odette. Not so much of a surprise was Maddie Ziegler as Camille. Maddie Ziegler has been a trailblazer with dancing solos in Sia’s music videos and appearing in Dance Moms, we’ll no doubt be hearing more from her in 2017.

What really gets me in all these movies is the fact that it is set in France yet the trace of French accents is almost non-existent. Despite this the themes of fighting for your passion and dreams is timeless. It’s a reminder that the journey to success is no easy task but what an adventure it can be when you are surrounded by the right people and you have the ambition to match.

Ballerina is in cinemas 12th January 2017.


Looking Deeper

What the bible says about never giving up? (Philippians 4:12-13; Joshua 1:9)

What does the bible say about offering support? (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

What does the Bible say about orphans? (John 14:18; Job 29:12)

Correction: Previous review stated motion capture was used however the animation used key frame.

Melissa Stewart


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