The story of two women whose lives are dedicated to ballet. Deedee left her promising dance career to become a wife and mother and now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma stayed with a company and became a star though her time has nearly passed. Both want what the other has and reflect on missed chances as they are brought together again through Deedee's daughter, who joins the company.Written by
Susan Southall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contains Phillip Saunders one and only acting credit. See more »
During the Gala Performance sequence, when Baryshnikov is circling the stage with leaps in his "Le Corsaire" solo, the shadows of the camera on its tripod and two crew members are clearly visible on the floor. See more »
You know, only this morning she came up to me and she said, "Sevilla, deary, you're the greatest prima ballerina in the whole world."
No, I am.
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First things first; this movie takes place within the American Ballet Theater. The name "American Ballet" was chosen by George Balanchine- a white Russian émigré to the United States- back in the 1930s when it was indeed probably the only major ballet company within the United States. However, their use of this term now is certainly misleading. I believe an alternative, and much more descriptive name, is "New York City Ballet"; that may in fact be the name they are legally required to use now due expiration of the original copyright though I would not swear to it. They are certainly very good at what they do; but, there are quite a few ballet companies within the United States nowadays and they are just as American as the group in New York City. And, probably just as good. Their is an irony here in that the movie starts, for some unfathomable reason, in Oklahoma City- which is, I guess, meant to show a place as far away from the "Big City" ballet as one can get. Perhaps in 1977 it was, but nowadays Oklahoma City itself has a very good ballet company. The only major reason why I do not consider the OKC ballet company as good as the one in New York City is due to the shortage of funds they have encountered recently. The OKC ballet school is pretty good- from what I have heard. Anyway, the New York City Ballet is a top notch outfit but it is certainly NOT the only major ballet company in the United States-despite what this movie implies. Okay, now that I have cleared this up I will now comment on this movie.
It is a "must see" movie for people who like ballet and even other major dance forms. There are a few problems- one is that Tom Skerritt plays the husband of a former ballerina of the company; himself a former "danseur" with the company. Yet, as good an actor as Mr. Skerritt is, I find his performance in this movie far from convincing in this manner. Their son is shown as an up and coming dancer; also with the company yet he disappears midway into the movie. What happened to him? I know the daughter is primary point of interest, but what happened to her brother??
Other than these weaknesses it is a very good movie- though it is somewhat surprising that it received 11 Academy Award nominations. Anne Bancroft was fantastic. In real life she never danced professionally nor took lessons yet she did a great job portraying an over-the-hill prima ballerina (possibly based on Margot Fonteyn). Shirley McClain- who did dance a lot - ironically is never seen dancing or even prepared for dancing.
This is a "chick flick"- no doubt about it, but if you are male and interested in the behind the scenes of a ballet company you will find this interesting also. Speaking of males- Mihail Baryshnikov comes close to stealing the show from the female leads. This movie, along with "The Nutcracker" that he performed later in 1977, was the "turning point" in his career. Well worth seeing by anybody of either gender for this alone!!
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