Teenage Casey Powell secretly suffers from anorexia nervosa, a mental and physical illness of deliberately starving herself or making herself vomit, because of her troubled home life and ... See full summary »
Eva Marie Saint,
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Dawn Cottrell (Peterson) seems like a typical sixteen-year-old girl, but she has a very dangerous secret. Unable to express her true feelings, whenever Dawn is upset she grabs a knife and cuts herself.
After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
Never mind the serious logic gaps, never mind the achingly cliche character portrayals, never mind the haphazard writing, and you might like this movie. The main character Alyssa was supposed to be endearing, the heroine who you root for to be saved,(or in this case, save herself) But instead she merely grates, and makes one wonder, are all pro ballerinas really that stupid? Her busybody mother was obviously only necessary to further propagate the illusion that ballet companies are evil monsters ready to snatch your poor, innocent, young girl from your grasp, with an ever present, biting artistic director/villain. And the cliche's! Not only does she become anorexic, bulemic, an over the counter junkie, and a pathological liar, but all in the course of a few months. It's like the writer read every horror story he could dig up about ballet and decided to see how much he could cram into two hours, (with commercials).
Believe it or not, but I am a dancer. This "uprising" or "resurgence" of anorexia and bulemia that is happening is nonexistent at all of the dance schools I have attended. In fact, the teachers are so scared to even suggest that a girl might stand a better chance a few pounds lighter, most of the dancers in my classes would be actually considered minorly overweight. I'm not saying eating disorders never occur, but not to the extent as it was portrayed in the movie.
Another annoying problem this movie had was the means-to-an-end writing style. Her on again off again boyfriend probably had all of half an hour total screen time, all in the first half. The other supporting characters were merely props, decorations to further the story. Given the right dialogue, this would have been a very intricate mind study of a psycological problem. As it is, it turns into a one woman show, and Kimberly McCullough doesn't have the chutzpah to pull it off.
To a non dancer, this movie would be a supposed "insight" into what really goes one behind closed doors at a ballet company. To a dancer, this is a very insulting movie, which portrays ballerinas as stupid and parents as pushy and ill informed. Those adjectives more correctly describe the people who got this on the air in the first place. 3/10
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