Author Topic: Strictly Ballroom (1992)  (Read 1491 times)

Offline Antares

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Strictly Ballroom (1992)
« on: February 23, 2010, 03:27:31 PM »
Strictly Ballroom





Year: 1992
Film Studio: Miramax Films, M&A Production
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Musical
Length: 94 Min.

Director
Baz Luhrmann (1962)

Writing
Baz Luhrmann (1962)...Original Idea
Baz Luhrmann (1962)...Earlier Screenplay
Andrew Bovell (1962)...Earlier Screenplay
Baz Luhrmann (1962)...Screenplay
Craig Pearce...Screenplay

Producer
Antoinette Albert
Tristram Miall
Jane Scott (1945)

Cinematographer
Steve Mason (1954)

Music
David Hirschfelder (1960)...Composer

Stars
Paul Mercurio (1963) as Scott Hastings
Tara Morice (1964) as Fran
Bill Hunter (1940) as Barry Fife
Pat Thomson (1940) as Shirley Hastings
Gia Carides (1964) as Liz Holt
Peter Whitford (1939) as Les Kendall
Barry Otto (1941) as Doug Hastings
John Hannan as Ken Railings

Review
       Many years ago when my wife convinced me one Saturday night at Blockbuster to rent this film, I can honestly say that I was very apprehensive about viewing it. I have never been a fan of musicals or films about dancing per se, so the thought of planting myself in front of the TV to watch an entire movie based on the theme of ballroom dance contests kind of wilted me. But to my surprise and joy it turned out to be a very well written little satire on the world of competitive dancing. Directed by Baz Luhrman, Strictly Ballroom takes a very campy look at the backstage backstabbing of the judges and contestants in the high stakes world of competitive ballroom dance contests.

       Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) is an up and coming star in the world of formal dance. His future has been a steady grind of practice and training since early childhood, all in pursuit of becoming the Pan-Pacific Grand Champion. But Scott has a small problem; he’s bored with the routine steps of formal dance choreography and longs to break free from the rigid protocols associated with his profession and basically, bust his own moves. Yet this flies in the face of all reason, according to his mother Shirley (Pat Thomson) and her former partner Les (Peter Whitford), both of whom were one time champions in their field, yet never achieved the notoriety of becoming Pan-Pacific champions. Their discourse is shared by Barry Fife (Bill Hunter) a respected judge and dance studio entrepreneur, who sees in Scott’s radical approach to formal dancing, a catastrophe for his dance studios. If everyone suddenly decides that Scott’s form of dance is more expressive and freer in its approach, then his dance studios and lucrative instructional VHS tapes will become obsolete.

       When no other female partners are willing to join Scott in his radical approach, a wallflower at his mother’s studio decides that she would like to be Scott’s partner and try to help him express his new vision of the dance. Fran (Tara Morice) is a beginner at the studio; she’s a bit awkward and a bit of an ugly duckling. When no one else steps forward to help him, Scott realizes that Fran is his only hope of competing in the Pan-Pacifics. As she slowly starts to gain confidence in herself and in Scott’s steps, Fran slowly evolves into a vibrant and beautiful young woman, with every bit of talent that Scott possesses. Their partnership will also bloom into a love for each other that will be tested by Scott’s mother and the judges at the Pan-Pacifics, in their quest to stop Scott from competing in the manner that would be detrimental to their own livelihoods.

       From beginning to end, Strictly Ballroom could be easily attached with the sobriquet, ‘Chick Flick’. While the mere thought of watching a film from this dubious genre can be as excruciating as having root canal to most of the male species, Luhrman infuses just enough campy humor into the story to keep it interesting for those who cringe at the sight of sappy love stories. I can admit freely that every once in a while, when I’m thumbing through my collection for the one movie that won’t drain me emotionally, as well as intellectually, I almost always wind up with this film in my hands. Its harmless fun that never takes it self too seriously and always manages to make me chuckle.



Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:39:33 PM by Antares »