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The Business of Fancydancing (2002)

 -  Drama | Music  -  14 January 2002 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 443 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 14 user | 11 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Indian poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Evan Adams ...
Seymour Polatkin
Michelle St. John ...
Agnes Roth
Gene Tagaban ...
Aristotle Joseph
Swil Kanim ...
Mouse
Rebecca Carroll ...
The Interviewer
...
Teresa
...
Mr. Williams
Kevin Phillip ...
Steven
Elaine Miles ...
Kim
Arthur Tulee ...
Junior One
Jim Boyd ...
Junior Two
Jennifer Kreisberg ...
Salmon Girl
Ron Otis ...
White Motorist
...
Tavern Father
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Storyline

Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Indian poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes going home is the hardest journey of all.

Genres:

Drama | Music

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Release Date:

14 January 2002 (USA)  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,709 (USA) (10 May 2002)

Gross:

$174,682 (USA) (4 October 2002)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Aristotle Joseph: To thy own self be true.
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Crazy Credits

A film by at least 62 people, Indigenous and otherwise. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gorgeous Poetry
29 November 2003 | by (miami) – See all my reviews

At cost of risking the authorial fallacy, I'll say that I took this film to be autobiographical. One advantage of having a talented writer do a film about a talented writer is that, when the protagonist reads his writing, you don't cringe (we should also have first-rate musicians write the score in movies about fictional musicians). In "The Business of Fancydancing" the writing is gorgeous and is what gives the film substance and shining power. Seymour Polatkin/Sherman Alexie's poetry makes up the bulk of the screenplay, whether in the form of actual poems (read by the protagonist or other characters, printed on still frames, or rendered in song), or as part of the dialogue. The film is non-linear and non-realistic: people don't always speak like real people and events don't follow one another in chronological fashion. But Alexie is brutally honest in his portrayal of the truth of his characters, and the film finally feels much more authentic than most made-to-look-realistic, traditional movies. It is one of the paradoxes of fiction that realism is frequently better achieved through non-realistic means.

"Fancydancing" is a wrenching and angry movie about identity, belonging, and race. Leading one's life as a Native American is clearly no easy job, and Alexie takes a very unsentimental look at the ordeals and dilemmas that come with a Native heritage. His characters are not especially likeable, and all make questionable choices. As Alexie makes clear, however, there are no "right" choices. Whether you stay or go, conform or depart, life's going to getcha and people are going to be mad at you.

The poetry beautifully depicts the pain of this dilemma while at the same time showing the redemption that comes with living the dilemma, sticking with it, not giving in. The images are occasionally hokey, and some sequences could have been cut without any loss to the overall effect of the film. But this is a brave film with a brave, unsparing vision, and it deserves a wide viewership.


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