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Mao's Last Dancer (2009)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 5,194 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 51 user | 80 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chi Cao ...
...
Penne Hackforth-Jones ...
Cynthia Dodds
...
Mason (as Chris Kirby)
...
Madeleine Eastoe ...
Lori
...
Dilworth
Wen Bin Huang ...
Shu Guang Liang ...
Jing Tring - 8 yrs
Ye Wang ...
Cunfar - 14 yrs
Neng Neng Zhang ...
Gong Mei
Wan Shi Xu ...
Shen Yu
Shao Wei Yi ...
Yang Ping
Hui Cong Zhan ...
Teacher Song
Ji Feng Sun ...
Headmaster
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Storyline

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ballet | dancer | love | village | government | See more »

Taglines:

Before You Can Fly You Have To Be Free.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

1 October 2009 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

El prodigio  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$199,657 (USA) (20 August 2010)

Gross:

$4,806,750 (USA) (3 December 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chi Cao's parents were two of Cunxin Li's former teachers at the Beijing Dance Academy. Li wanted Cao to portray him. See more »

Goofs

When Ben takes Li to the Houston Galleria to buy new clothes, he uses an ATM to get some cash. Although this scene takes place in the early 80's, the money that comes out features the newly designed $20 bill which was not introduced until 2006. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: The Switch (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in D
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Simon Tedeschi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Fantastic True Story of a Chinese Ballet Dancer
4 August 2012 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In a village of China, the eleven year-old Li Cunxin is selected by the Comunist Party to study ballet at the Madame Mao's Dance Academy in Beijing. Years later, he travels to Houston in a cultural exchange program invited by the artistic director Ben Stevenson (Bruce Greenwood) and he is promoted to principal dancer of the Houston Ballet. Meanwhile he secretly dates and falls in love with the dancer Elizabeth Mackey (Amanda Schull).

When the China's government asks Li Cunxin (Chi Cao) to return to his country, he marries Liz and defects to USA. He is forbidden to return to China and has no news of his parents and family. Meanwhile, his marriage with Liz ends and he misses his parents. But five years later, he has a great surprise during a performance.

"Mao's Last Dancer" is a film about the true story of the Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin. The engaging biography of Li Cunxin is an example of discipline and strength associated with courage to make the right decisions, and it is amazing how a boy from a poor village in China could have become a great ballerino in the West.

Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Chen are well known actors and are fantastic, but Chi Cao, Chengwu Guo and the rest of the cast and dancers have also top-notch performances. Everything is perfect in this film, from the direction of Bruce Beresford to the cinematography and art direction. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "O Último Bailarino de Mao" ("The Last Ballerino of Mao")


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Li is a horrible horrible person mablecheng1981
Great film apart from one terrible scene... feilidh_dwyer
Why Ballet?? mail-3288
Simplistic Anti China- Western propaganda film endecottp
Bruce Greenwood's performance gwendyloo
Loved it! Meira78
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