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Flashdance
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Reviews & Ratings for
Flashdance More at IMDbPro »

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62 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

A surprisingly charming film!

Author: Craig Carrington from San Francisco, CA
17 October 2002

So here's this movie "Flashdance" which has been staring me in the face for years, both in pop culture for over half of my life and on the video rental store shelves, and yet I've never gotten around to checking it out until now.

I was fifteen when this movie was first out and popular. I heard the soundtrack, of course, and loved it to pieces... but I had never been able to watch the movie because it was rated R.

I had grown up having it be, in an odd sort of way, both a part of my life and at the same time *not* a part of my life. I was familiar with its music, images, and even its basic plot outline, but had never seen the movie.

And as an adult, I felt extremely dubious about checking it out. Over the years, I had heard that people either loved it to pieces or hated it. I've heard critics both call it uplifting and fun while others called it nothing more than a string of glittering little music videos strung together on an extremely thin strand of plot (a creation device for a LOT of MTV-era movies such as "Top Gun", "Footloose" and "Purple Rain").

To add to my confusion about whether or not I should give it a try, I had had the same experience with "Saturday Night Fever": I grew up loving the soundtrack to pieces but having never seen the movie... and when I finally did I felt utter disappointment at first, discovering the film to be far darker than expected. Oh sure, I later liked "Fever" okay (actually, I should use the term "appreciated") but still preferred the gorgeous soundtrack to the actual film that was the basis for its existance.

Would I have the same experience with "Flashdance"?

Tonight, I finally decided to, as one character in the film puts it, "hold my breath and take the plunge".

As it turns out, I found it to be a surprisingly charming, entertaining and uplifting film. I was fearing it to be something raunchy, but at it turns out it has a very special, starry-eyed sweet innocence that is difficult to define.

The performance of the equally starry-eyed and innocent Jennifer Beals helps, of course. She brings a wide-eyed sparkle and hopefulness to her role, plus a determination to keep her life on the right track precisely as she feels it ought to go without any major morality screwups, and this adds a wonderful flavour of hope and childlike wonder to her character Alex that just simply grows on you.

Now, it IS true that there are a few flaws here and there, and a couple of editing flaws as well. Plus, the other characters aren't really as developed as hers (but they are developed just enough to demonstrate to her personally the various dos and don'ts regarding attitudes to have while pursuing a dream, voices for her to observe and learn from representing both directions). But none of that matters because the film has a charm all its own. Looking at it today, I can easily see why so many out there loved it: its a beautiful and very encouraging little film. It has a heroine whom anybody could relate with and like; it has wonderful music in it; it has a delicate and lighthearted touch to it which, language and a couple of scenes aside (such as the film's most heartbreaking scene in which Alex saves a desperate friend from throwing life away in a strip joint (a sequence which only lasts about two minutes long--but it's sad and disturbing, not "Oooh, let's put this in to grab male members of the audience!"--which is most likely the only ingredient to earn the film its R rating)), is nevertheless still so pure and true that it could have come straight out of a '70s-made Walt Disney Productions movie (!!!); it's touching and moving... and, of course, it has dance sequences which are fun to watch.

In other words, it was a comforting and uplifting movie released during a time when people, youngsters with career goals in particular, needed one. And if anything, folks still need movies like that out today. It's a happy little film with a happy ending which isn't overdone or unconvincing, and precisely the sort of flick which should be perscribed to those suffering severe depression. Heaven knows that I myself certainly felt encouraged about my own career and life in particular after watching it!

It might not be for everybody, but if the above description I've written voices the sort of movie you personally enjoy then do yourself a big favour and give it a try. Chances are that if you are as naturally starry-eyed and hopeful as Alex is--and believe me, *I* certainly am--then you will easily relate to this delightful little fable.

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40 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Lively Popular Entertainment

6/10
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
14 January 2004

In recent years there have been a number of British films based on the theme of working-class people who find fulfilment through their cultural activities; examples being Educating Rita (the first and most distinguished), Brassed Off, The Full Monty and Billy Elliott. Such films are frequently described as `quintessentially British' or `something that we can do and Hollywood can't', whereas the truth is that twenty years ago Hollywood was indeed making very similar films, mostly centred upon dancing, such as Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing or Flashdance. Whereas these American films may not have had the covert (or, in the case of Brassed Off, highly overt) political message of their British counterparts, they nevertheless concentrated on differences in social class far more than Hollywood movies usually do.

The heroine of Flashdance, Alex, is a young woman who works as a welder and whose main joy in life is dancing. She moonlights as a dancer in a local nightclub, but her great ambition in life is to become a ballet dancer. The film tells the story of how she achieves that ambition, as well as the story of her romance with a wealthy middle-class divorcee, set against frequent dance sequences as Alex and her ice-skating friend Jeanie go through their paces. The climax comes with a scene in which she auditions for a place at a prestigious ballet academy and treats the judging committee to a bravura display of breakdancing. (Would a ballet school really be prepared to offer a place to a candidate whose dance skills owe more to the disco than to Swan Lake and who seems completely ignorant of balletic idiom?)

The film has its weak points. Although the plot is not as non-existent as some reviewers have felt, it nevertheless tends to take second place to the showpiece dance numbers; at times, it felt as if I were watching an extended series of pop videos. Potentially interesting themes are ignored; for example, Alex is a practising Catholic, but this seems to be a plot device to enable scenes set in the confessional to be used as soliloquies in which she can air her emotional problems. No attempt is made to explore the possible conflict between the demands of her religion and her sexually provocative dancing or her love for a divorcee.

The acting is undistinguished; Jennifer Beals makes an attractive and personable heroine, but it is clear why, despite the success of this film, she did not go on to become a major star. Her acting is too weak to enable her to carry a film; certainly I felt that she would be out of her depth in one that depends more upon plot and less upon song and dance. The other characters are little more than ciphers, with the exception of Hanna, the old lady who acts as Alex's mentor. I could certainly have done without the tasteless ethnic jokes told by Alex's comedian friend.

Yet, despite its faults, I enjoyed this film. Its redeeming feature is the zest and energy of its dance sequences, set to some well-chosen music such as Laura Branigan's Gloria or Irene Cara's title song. It may not be deep or significant, but it is an enjoyable, well-made piece of popular entertainment. 6/10.

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35 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Flashdance clearly provides what many viewers want

7/10
Author: L. Denis Brown (ldbrown1@shaw.ca) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
3 November 2003



There are already many comments on this film in the IMDb database, and I had no intention of writing another until to my surprise I noticed that it was frequently being replayed on several different local TV channels. Flashdance is a very outdated movie that has never appealed to most film critics, so I felt this was sufficiently unusual to justify an attempted explanation.

Since the DVD of Flashdance was released, it has appeared for hire in many small local convenience stores and service stations that only maintain a very small rack of films for hire Clearly although it is now very much of a period movie, it continues to retain an enormous appeal for many of those who have seen it before. Personally I have watched our tape of Flashdance more often than most of the other tapes we have at home. This is not because it would be my first choice, but because it is a film that my wife loves to watch again and again; whilst I find I can view it repeatedly more readily than many of her other favorite tapes, so when we are discussing what to view and have rejected a number of other possibilities we tend to turn back to Flashdance. This reinforces the comments already made in your database about Flashdance being a "feel good" movie for which most people seem able to ignore the faults and just enjoy the music, the dancing and the romance. (It also features "Grunt", a very appealing dog, who remains one of the reasons why my wife is always ready to rewatch this film.) As a film Flashdance is therefore something of a paradox. Originally the final product was not very highly regarded by the studio and only received a limited release. This was severely panned by most of the critics, and not surprisingly the film initially received very little support from the public. The reviews and the low attendance led to plans to withdraw it from circulation early, but before these were implemented the audiences started to grow and continued to increase until cinemas showing the film were mostly packed out. Clearly those few who saw the film at an early showing started telling their friends to ignore the critics and see it. This escalated exponentially until the film finished up as a major hit. In commenting on this film it would be equally invalid to ignore the very real concerns of the critics or the equally real appeal it had, and still seems to have, for most of the public.

The story is trite - a female welder in a steelworks dreams of being a ballet dancer and practices her dancing in one of the local bars at night. Here she meets and starts to fall in love with her fairly young divorced boss. With his support she is able obtain an audition with a major dance company who are essentially only interested in her dance training, and lose any interest they may have had when she says she has never attended a dance school. However she proceeds to audition for the very bored selection committee and gives an electrifying free dance performance that in true fairy story tradition brings the committee to its feet. Some critics have complained that doubles replaced the star Jennifer Beals for this sequence, but this is surely not important - the real question is how effectively the film plays, and this sequence has rightly been very widely admired. About the time the film was released, modern dance companies were being formed alongside traditional ballet companies in many major cities in North America and this sequence certainly added to the appeal of the film at the time, but it is decidedly not the only reason for watching it.

I could spend pages criticizing the screenplay in several different respects, but other comments in your database have already done this, and these criticisms are ultimately not damming. The important thing is that the film maintains an ongoing flow which sweeps most viewers along and earns it a place as one of the finer musical comedies to have been released in the past quarter century. The object of a film is to entertain the public and in ranking Flashdance I feel I must base my rating on its undeniable success in doing just this. So 7 out of 10.

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27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

An 80's iconic movie

5/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
1 September 2007

I know how much Flashdance became such a huge hit of the 80's, it defined a whole new generation of clothes, behavior, and dance moves. That's what made Flashdance so special. Now I was born in '85 so I kinda missed out on these things, but I understand it's importance. I just bought this movie yesterday, it was back to back with Footloose, two iconic 80's movies, and I watched Flashdance this afternoon. While this film defined a huge part of the 80's, it was an average film with a simple plot. The acting and story is just pretty average, but it's a cute and fun one.

Alex is a welder by day, but at night she is a sexy exotic dancer who grabs the attention of all the men. But she has big time dreams to become a ballet dancer, she has promised her grandmother that she would apply to the top ballet school and try to get an audition. But Alex is always intimidated by the other "proper looking" dancers with tons more experience than her. She falls in love with a fellow co-worker, Nick, who wants her to make it just as badly. She goes through rough times, but she just wants to make it and will do anything for that chance.

Flashdance is one of those must see movies if you wanna see the important films of the 80's. I just wanted to see what this movie was about since it's such a huge part of film culture. Jennifer Beals actually did a great job as Alex, she was absolutely beautiful and made the character very likable. While this film did not live up to my expectations, it still was a good film. It has an awesome sound track and really is a lot of fun to dance too. Now excuse me, but I wanna try to take my bra off without removing my shirt, lol.

5/10

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24 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Nostalgia

Author: benjmarshall from Birmingham, England
16 June 2004

As other users have said this film is very dated, but not necessarily bad. It was looked upon as a bit of fluff that was very successful in the box office. So now, it would come across as nostalgic (in the same vein as Dirty Dancing). But the thing I do like about it, is just that. Adrian Lyne perfectly captured the time, a post disco era when Break-dancing and Synth Pop were all the rage - Who could forget the FANTASTIC theme song, sung by Irene Cara (Fame) and composed by Synth Pop genius Giorgio Moroder (I feel love - Donna Summer among many others). So what if Jennifer Beals wasn't a great actress? So what if it wasn't her dancing? (Think one of them was a break dancer from "The Rock Steady Crew" - see? All about the era!) she was a good looking girl, and this was a harmless bit of fun at the time.

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

"Flashdance, What A Feeling".

Author: famousgir1 from London/England
1 July 2001

Jennifer Beals stars as Alex Owens a welder by day and a dancer by night, who dreams of going to a ballet school. She really wants to make her dreams reality but is to nervous to audition. With a little encouragement and help from her good friend Hannah Long (Lilia Skala.) and her boyfriend/boss, Nick Hurley. (Michael Nouri.) she finally does audition. And, what an audition it was. The dance sequence at the end was brilliant. Flashdance is a great film full of fun music, (Including Irene Cara's hit song, "Flashdance, What a feeling".) great dancing and just lots of fun. Flashdance is an instant classic. I give it a 10/10.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Wow....

10/10
Author: Terry from Amity, OR
2 June 2004

Verve, beauty, reality.

This is no cinematic epic but the story is electric. Small town gal breaks into a man's world while aspiring to be a dancer.

Romance, some Pittsburgh clips. (yep, i grew up around there.)

Great music, choreography. Makes me cry every time when I FEEL what this gal wants and I want her to get it. I had to buy this movie because I think it is very inspirational in an artistic way.

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25 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

80s flash and trash

Author: Monika-5 from United States
14 April 2000

Sure, Flashdance will never make the AFI's Top 100, but it has an infectious charm. Jennifer Beals is really only so-so in the leading role, and her leading man Michael Nouri is no better off, but it doesn't matter. What does matter here is the great music! Really, the whole film is played like a 90-minute ad for MTV! Laugh at the dopey plot and listen to the great tunes. Great film to earmark the 80s.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Bad but really fun

7/10
Author: emdoub (emdoub@gmail.com) from United States
15 December 2005

Okay - the dancing is done by someone else, the script has a bunch of flaws (dialogue being almost the worst), and the basic premise is absurd - an 18-yo dreaming of starting a career in ballet? (In ballet, you're just about approaching the peak of your career at 18.)

However, the movie has some heart-grabbing moments, the score is wonderful, the girls are pretty, and the moral of the story (keep on trying until you win) is as true as it ever was. This is probably the worst movie you'll ever have a wonderful time watching.

As a past professional dancer, I probably watch this movie about once a year. It's an essential part of any dancer's library, regardless of its flaws.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Some may call it heavenly in its brilliance, others are just entertained

Author: Eric-1226 from Seattle, Washington
11 June 2002

Although I've long known, generally speaking, what this movie is about, I never saw it when it came out in 1983 or 1984, because I was too busy "living" the 80's (yeah, right, whatever that means!). But I just saw it recently, in its entirety, the other night on TV.

I don't know, maybe it's the current sorry state of affairs of the world today that made me want to watch this film, just so I could revisit the "happy days(?)" of the eighties, when, although the world was also in a sorry state of affairs, at least there was an underlying pretense of hope and glory, a pervasive (albeit childlike) adherence to the belief that wishes DO sometimes come true, miracles CAN happen, and for every ugly frog there IS a beautiful princess waiting to kiss him...

This movie sucks, bigtime... but it also rocks! And that, people, is the honest to God truth. This movie is so bad it reeks of the stench of the very phoney-baloney on which it is based (and we all know how awful THAT is). BUT, it also rocks you to your very soul, and hey, how can you possibly fault a movie that dares to offer people (and not just young people, but ALL people) that little thing called HOPE???

I hope you don't take my "critique" the wrong way... Honestly, I don't think the movie is really all that good, but the message, and the feeling, and the spirit of this movie, are all very wonderful and infectious indeed and should NOT be discounted. It makes it a wonderful movie. Strange, isn't it? If those of you reading this are parents with up-and-coming kids, make them sit through this film!! Make them watch it!! I guarantee you, at least there is not a single scene in it where some teenager just HAS to have sex with a baked pastry object!!

Finally, let me comment on the fact that many in filmdom have dissed Jennifer Beals over the fact that a stand-in dancer performed various or several of her dance segments. Well let me just mention, that at the very end of the film, in the credit roll, there is a disclaimer that states: "The people and events in this film are fictional. Any similarity to actual people or events is unintentional." So, with this in mind… a stunt double performed some of the dance steps!?? I was shocked, shocked to find that stunt doubles are used in Hollywood!!

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