7.4/10
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Mao's Last Dancer (2009)

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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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(screenplay), (autobiography)
6 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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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 | Plot Synopsis

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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El prodigio  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

AUD 2,754,617 (Australia) (4 October 2009)

Gross:

$4,806,750 (USA) (5 December 2010)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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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 Li and Ben are driving past downtown, the camera motion indicates they are southbound on Interstate 45 (Gulf Freeway), with the Allen Parkway/Milam St exit in view, and downtown Houston on the left (east). Li is clearly looking upward out of the passenger window, facing west, away from downtown, as he utters, "Fantastic". Perhaps he was reacting to the Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou, which are west of that location, but it was not evident in the shot. See more »

Quotes

Li - as an adult: In China, not so easy. Tell you what to do, where to go, what can say
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Connections

References The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Trio in B-Flat major, K502 1. Allegro
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Vienna Piano Trio
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hits all the right notes!
28 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's by no means the perfect film; however, when it works, your heart will soar, and you might start believing in the magic of movies again. It's been a great year for showcasing classical music, framing it with hilarious comedy, such as "Le Concert", and now with the beauty and exuberance of ballet in "Mao's Last Dancer", a beautifully told real-life story of a man who opens his mind, heart, and see his dreams come true.

Raised in Communist China, a young man's strong and determined spirit make him climb higher and higher in the competitive world of ballet. With his true and remarkable talents, he conquers obstacle after obstacle, while being lucky enough to have some key people's love and support behind him. Still, it's not an easy journey to fame and fortune.

Somehow, his experiences in Houston are presented a little bit too sanitized, as he assimilates rather quickly into a very foreign universe for him. This is after all, Texas, and he briefly mentions to some derogatory comments, which are rather quickly brushed away by his mentor.

There are some gorgeous moments in the film, mostly involving the presentation of his astounding talents, and some emotional, climatic scenes that are bound to leave everyone in the audience misty-eyed. Bruce Beresford is back again in top form and it's very likely he will be mentioned later on in the year's award race for this is a theme he knows very well: Human spirit's indefatigable power. Be warned, this film will move you and probably lead you to believe just that.


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