|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|Index||35 reviews in total|
I loved this movie when it came out and I still love it all these years
later-flaws and all.
First of all, the book was so great in it's depiction of competetive skating and the machinations that sometimes go on behind the scenes. That said, the movie was actually a pretty good adaptation.
But, probably the main reason I loved this movie was because I was there when they filmed many of the Broadmoor World Arena scenes. It was my home rink, and it's a blast to see old coaches, old skating friends. And to see the World Arena, which sadly was torn down a few years back. A sad day...
I remember that practice times were a mess because of the shooting schedule-some of us had our practice time in between scenes-lights and all! I remember watching the scene where the "French" skater falls in the middle of a show-and watching the skater playing that part throwing herself onto the ice, over and over again. Ouch! I remember Lynn-Holly seeming a bit nervous; Robby Benson as a bit shy, but very nice (and patient-when introduced, I couldn't remember my name!); David Huffman was very cute and Jennifer Warren was friendly, charming, modest and gorgeous! She didn't know how to skate very well and came out with some of us to learn! She became something of a rink rat while there!
Having been there for some of that, it changes one's perspective a bit, but still, I feel myself drawn into the story-and I cry at the end just like everyone else.
Most will either love Ice Castles or hate it. Perhaps hate is a little
harsh but it gets the point across. For a film with numerous
shortcomings it has achieved somewhat of a cult following. So much so
that Columbia Tristar decided to release it in DVD format several years
What's wrong with the movie? For a film partially intended to appeal to the teenage crowd, it is unnecessary to have any foul language. Yet Ice Castles is sprinkled with four letter words from the beginning to the end. It doesn't advance the plot one iota and it's inclusion in the film is a mystery. Perhaps the producer thought a "G" rating would doom it at the box office and added the harsh language to get a "PG". Whatever the reason it degrades the film.
Many of the lines the actors speak seem to be more or less mumbled and hard to understand. Not sure if this is a sound problem or simply bad acting.
There is a severe lack of continuity in some scenes. For instance Lexie is first wearing a green jacket in the segment where she is learning to skate on the pond after becoming blind. Suddenly she is wearing a blue jacket in the next scene and just as suddenly goes back to the green jacket! Not to mention her being bare-headed and then is seen wearing a beige hat and then back to being bare-headed again! The producer must have been blind too!!
The original film was 115 minutes according to a New York Times review in 1979. However, the VHS and DVD versions are about 108 minutes. Where are the missing 7 minutes and why were they not included?
Nevertheless, despite these and other faults, the film works due in large part to Marvin Hamlisch's stirring music and Lynn-Holly Johnson's beautiful skating. It is a three-hankie the first time you see it and has inspired many young hopefuls to take up the sport. A must-see if you like films that turn tragedy into victory.
I loved this movie when it came out and just watched it again on TV
Brings back a lot of memories of my time as a skater, not best, but OK.
I was reading about the goofs in the movie and well anyone who is paying attention will realize that:
The skating on the pond is not a goof, it is taking place over several days. There is no way any one will feel safe on skates again after such an ordeal. It takes time to rebuild your confidence. Any person who is a skater will realize that. So please take take that part out of the goofs.
I gave it a 10/10 cause when you think back to the 70's making movies was not as technically easy as it is now a days with all the computer enhancements.
I like the actors all did a very excellent job.
Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robby Benson give smashing performances as an aspiring Olympic ice skater and her loving boyfriend. ICE CASTLES is an excellent film that's very romantic, touching and moving. It's a love story that ultimately tests the boundaries of true love. The music is good, too, especially "Through The Eyes Of Love," which is the song that plays over the opening credits. If you're wondering who's it's by, it's by Melissa Manchester. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that everyone involved in this film did an outstanding job. In conclusion, if you like love stories that are happy and sad at the same time, this is definitely a movie to see. You will really be touched by it.
Johnson plays fictitious figure skater Alexis Winston, whose widower
father (Skerritt) reluctantly allows master coach (Warren) to take her
to the big city for a chance to demonstrate her unique talents and
compete in the national titles. She leaves behind her boyfriend
(Benson) and local skate rink owner (Dewhurst) and is soon consumed by
the trappings of high profile sport and fair-weather friends, wooed by
a much older newscaster (Huffman) and forced to endure the spotlight of
TV in addition to her rigorous training schedule. But just as she's
about to reach the heights of success, she's felled prematurely in a
shocking accident that robs her of her sight, and it seems, her dream.
With the aid of family and 'true' friends, she attempts an audacious
Set to the backdrop of Melissa Manchester's commanding theme song ("Looking Through the Eyes of Love"), "Ice Castles" is the "Flashdance" of the late seventies, with generally strong performances by the cast. Johnson's maturity belies her age, underrated Jennifer Warren delivers a strong performance as the perfectionist coach, while Dewhurst has a couple of intense scenes to display her range, notably where she confronts Johnson in the attic where she's apparently given up on life in favour of a shallow existence of self pity.
Typical feel-good movie is elevated by Dewhurst's performance and the Oscar-nominated theme song (the rest of the soundtrack isn't bad either, e.g. "Midnight Blue" and "A Fifth of Beethoven"), but probably attempts to milk too much sympathy as films of this ilk often do from the audience. One of those films you probably wouldn't seek to watch, but nevertheless find yourself engaged to the end in spite of yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are SPOILERS in this review. I found out why I liked this film so much when it first came out twenty-plus years ago: it was a good movie. Most reviewers followed the movie's publicity hype and assessed the movie on a linear structure: the story of a girl who with the help of her lover surmounts overwhelming obstacles to achieve a dream. And I can see how they might on such a basis view it as a failure. But then the linear structure was not the goal of the story in the first place. If you really look at what's happening in the movie, you'd also have to redefine "dream" before it makes any sense in the story that's actually told. In the end, the "A story with dream" may have little to do with ice skating.
(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Grooming Lexie (Lynn-Holly Johnson) for the next Olympics is a major challenge for Deborah (Jennifer Warren), the world class figure skating trainer. Most girls start their trek by the time they're seven, devoting another decade to shaping their art and learning their figures and the skills of competing before they're considered ready for the big time. At sixteen Lexie is considered by many to be already over the hill. Through Deborah's demanding tutorship, television personality Brian's (David Huffman) television hype, and Lexie's determination and natural talent, amazing progress is made; sponsors are even lining up to back her run for the gold. What no one considers, least of all Deborah and Brian, is that skill isn't the only thing skaters become enured to by starting their training early in life. There's the give and take in the community of skaters, the learned knowledge of the ways of judging, the back-biting, the dog-eat-dog mentality that girls around the business since early childhood take for granted, but that for Lexie is a whole new world of naivete. In order to compensate for those years of rugged experience, a girl in Lexie's position will need to have strong props. Lexie's props? She's never been out of Waverly, her Iowa home town. Her mother is dead. Her father looks on Lexie as a surrogate for his dead wife, and refuses even to come to the bus depot to wish her well on her journey. Her beloved Nick leaves her at every important turning point in her life. Beulah (Colleeen Dewhurst), Lexie's home town mentor, is the only one who has ever treated Lexie with respect, but even she has an agenda. She wants desperately for Lexie, through her skating, to get away from the trap of small town America - which she herself was never able to do. So time after time we see a basically fragile Lexie totally confused by what she experiences in her new life. At a major Christmas television special in New York where all the world-recognized girl skaters will be putting on an exhibition, all the girls are stunned by the public emotional collapse on the ice of the French champion, but quickly get on to the next stage of the show; however, Lexie stands open-mouthed and frozen by what she has seen on the TV monitor. At the required cocktail receptions, Lexie doesn't understand why all the sponsors want to touch her and crowd her. It is not a hidden intention of the director and author that we should know that LEXIE HAS NO PROPS. After the exhibition, when Nick is cold to her on the telephone, Brian takes advantage of the obviously vulnerable girl - but he is incapable of support; what he calls love, yes; but support? no. So when she reaches the height of her quest, the gold medal at the sectionals, and sees Nick coming towards her, she is for the moment in seventh heaven, but when he sees Brian hugging her, the guy who always walks away from a struggle turns his back on her - a door slam that Lexie is no longer able to cope with. (SPOILERS)Depressed and alone, she leaves the victory reception, goes to the hotel ice rink, and does the only thing she has confidence in for herself, she skates - and falls - and hurts her head - and is permanently blinded. Now she has nothing. She returns to the farm and vegetates. Even her father has reached the end of his self-centeredness, and confesses to Beulah that he doesn't know what to do, that Lexie will die if not checked on her nothing course. Most viewers of this movie think that the climax is the big moment, when, totally blind, she skates the best performance of her life. I don't think so. I found the actual turning point - the climax, if you will - comes when after Marcus' plea, Beulah looks for Lexie and finds that she has crawled to the attic, and in the dark there she is putting on her mother's clothes (shallow movie?). The ensuing sometimes violent confrontation is as down and rough dramatic as you'd want. (MORE SPOILERS) But Lexie decides to put on the skates again. This time Nick, who has also learned a lesson, is a true helpmate - not doing things for her, but encouraging her to do what she can do ... and not walking out on her. After a long arduous re-learning period, Lexie goes again to the sectionals - this time with all her props in place: Beulah, Nick, and her father. The scene of the happy foursome in the car going to the sectionals could easily have been the last scene for its resolution of the story.
While I do agree with some of the other reviewers...a lot of unnecessary cussing...I believe that is Hollywood's version of showing rough and tough small town Midwesterners, so it was easy to overlook for me. Because I was raised in small town Minnesota...where this was filmed...I can attest that in fact, some of the edgier people in the town I grew up in did talk like that on occasion, so I guess it wasn't too far from the truth. That said, I think overall, the plot and emotions in this movie are a lot deeper than what is thrown on screen before us these days!! And for the reviewer who said that continuity was off when Lexie changed caps and coats...I think you missed out on a subtle hint the director was trying to show in time passing...as Lexie also became a stronger skater with every costume change in the sequence. Obviously, she didn't do it the moment she got up on her skates, so I think you missed out. Someone also mentioned that the 'Live Televised Broadcast' was a goof because there was no audience...but it was not a goof! It was televised on live camera on Christmas Eve, according to the plot line. Did not specify it was to be before an audience. News broadcasts are always live, and they don't have an audience, either. Nor do I think Robby Benson sounds remotely from Brooklyn, but that's another story altogether. Over all, I like this film a lot! Of course, Robby Benson was my big crush since Ode to Billie Joe, so I am a bit biased, but I think even without him, it would be a pretty good piece of film work. I give it a 7 out of 10!!
Director: Donald Wrye, Script: Donald Wrye, and Gary Baim, Cast: Robby
Benson, Colleen Dewhurst, Tom Skerritt, Lynn Holly-Johnson
This is the movie every girl who was in Junior high in the late seventies will vividly remember! The story about a young skater from a small Iowa town trying to make the Olympics against all odds and the tragedy that befalls her. Although a little sappy and often clichéd, this move is still enjoyable to watch. I know it is one of my wife's favorites and she wasn't even born yet when this film came out!
Colleen Dewhurst owns a small bowling alley with a skating rink in it and she coached young Lexie. Tom Skerritt played Lexie's father. They wore both excellent in their respective parts. In my opinion, they are both very underrated actors. Robby Benson did fine as Lexie's boyfriend. He has been in many movies but I am not familiar with much of his work. As for Lynn Holly-Johnson, well she certainly has talent. She is a real skater and her looks and skating ability worked for this movie. She does get a little whiny though. In the film she did the following year, The Watcher in the Woods, one can see her limitations as an actress. I see her more as a skater than an actress. However, I have not seen her in any of her later movies.
I have been to the Waverly, Cedar Falls area in Iowa where this movie was filmed and it is a beautiful area. It made a great setting for this film. I especially liked the winter scenes. This movie also had a very good musical score by Marvin Hamlisch. Of course, we all remember the theme song written by Hamlish and Carol Bayer-Sager and sung by Melissa Manchester. Donald Wrye has done many made for T.V. movies. I remember a movie done by him called Born Innocent which starred Linda Blair. Her follow up film to The Exorcist. This was a very depressing and downbeat movie. One last comment I would like to make about Ice Castles is the film's content. It would have made a great family movie but their was too much swearing and the content of the relationships would not make this film appropriate for small children. I thought I might add this because this is a film young girls would like. Evidently, Lynn Holly-Johnson was asked to do a nude scene but she refused. To bad---She was kind of cute!
I am not going to lie, this film is utterly depressing. The dreary atmosphere and the sad love story come together and make our tears flow. Simple story concerning a young girl who vows to become a professional ice skater, the boy she loves, and the tragedy that follows. Good performances from Skerritt and Dewhurst as usual, average from Benson and the rest of the cast. The finale is a real tearjerker, featuring the wonderful Melissa Manchester song. Though the film is somewhat predictable and extremely corny, it is still a good little film made with good intentions. 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What I love about this film, is the way it captured the fragility and
innocence of youth. I'm not sure that a trained actress could have done
that any better than Lynn-Holly.
In perhaps her first movie at a tender age, she probably shared the real fear and wonderment of her character. In a sense, as a skater, a new actress, and a new Ice Capade star in real life, she was going through some of the same stuff that her character Lexi was experiencing.
I was a person for whom youth was full of wonder, fear and innocence, so I can relate to our protagonist's gentle nature. Her lack of world-wise savvy formed the core of the plot. She had a sheltered childhood punctuated by tragedy, with the premature death of her mother. Suddenly she was thrust into the predatory world of competitive skating and sports media. Add to the mix, romantic peaks and valleys, and abandonment issues.
Epic main themes manipulated the emotions of a generation of 70s film watchers, and gladly so. I credit the music here for hitting the tear-jerker grand slam.
I also loved the woodsy, "farmie," "ranchie" setting in winter. Ice skaters practice year round in indoor rinks, so theoretically this movie could have been set in summer, but it would have had a totally different feel. Winter MADE this film. The weather fit the sport and personified the freshness of the rosie-cheeked Lexie.
I still don't understand exactly what the father, played very aptly by Tom Skerritt, did for a living. Was it a dairy farm, cattle ranch, or what? He asks Robby Benson's character about his dad's cattle ranch. That was the only hint.
The Colleen Dewhurst character was supposed to have been a winning skater herself "25 years ago," but if you look up the actress's real age, she would not have been a young woman, even 25 years prior to 1978. To me that was so obvious. 25 plus 16 is 41, and this character was way older than 41.
Also, Dewhurst's character hated her life. She bemoans running a crappy bowling alley and skating rink. But I would love to live in a small town and run exactly that kind of business. Sounds like a great life, although you never see the place in full use by the public.
We never hear anything about Lynn-Holly's school situation. It is not summer, so presumably she would have to go to school. That was a huge error.
Also, we see the older sportscaster guy come up behind her and put his arms around her, kissing her bare neckline, as lovers do. But we had no prior warning that a relationship like this ever existed. They just pull it out of nowhere. She was legally under age, and he was the boyfriend of her coach, yet neither of those issues comes up.
We are supposed to assume that they slept together. That was a major part of her personal drama, yet it is left very vague. We are to assume that he only cared about her skating, yet after the accident, he called her several times. It was clear to me that he really did love her, but in a crucial scene, she implies that he was a fair-weather friend. I didn't get that at all.
Initially, we have no idea whatsoever that Robby Benson's character plays hockey, or that he is good at it. Then we see him score one goal in a local game, without even knowing that he was on a team. After that goal, he gets a tryout with a pro team. Where did that come from? I understand that it was a plot device to parallel his girlfriend's sporting aspirations, but you have to set it up better than that.
I do like how we see that people are not perfect or cardboard in their nature. People in this film act self-centered, grow emotionally, and correct their misdeeds. That is true to life when people mature.
I'm not sure why the crowd reacts so emotionally toward the girl in the final scene, if they don't even know that she is blind. (prior to the roses issue.) I guess we are to assume that for whatever reasons, crowds just love this girl on ice. Her prettiness no doubt helped her otherwise unlikely rise to fame, given her mature age for a skater.
I'm o.k. with the choice of Robby Benson, although he did not look like a Midwestern farm boy, nor a hockey player. I think he did a splendid job of conveying his character's genuine emotions, including jealousy, love, and confusion. His facial expressions were key to the effectiveness of the drama.
Yes, the plot device of showing that people can overcome adversity, using sports as a metaphor is a cliché, but that's o.k. How you execute the plot is more important. While blindness is a bit heavy-handed, some key performances, memorable music, and a frosty setting help tell this story with considerable style and grace.
|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|