In the 1880s, Félicie, a poor orphan girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina, but lacks formal training, runs away from her orphanage in rural Brittany with her best friend, Victor, a young inventor. Together they go to beautiful Paris, but they soon become separated, and Victor becomes an office boy in Gustave Eiffel's workshop. Félicie finds her way to the Paris Opera, where the guard catches her trespassing. She is rescued by a mysterious cleaner with a limp, Odette, who agrees to let Félicie stay with her until she gets on her feet. Odette works for both the Opera and for the cruel and imperious Régine Le Haut, a wealthy restaurant owner. While helping Odette clean, Félicie spies Regine's daughter, Camille, practicing ballet. Camille sees Félicie, insults her, and throws Félicie's treasured music box out of the window, breaking it. As Félicie takes it to Victor for repair, she intercepts the postman who brings a letter from the Opera admitting Camille to the celebrated school of ...
It's late 19th century. Felicie (Elle Fanning) and Victor (Dane DeHaan) are best friends at an orphanage. She dreams of dancing and he helps her escape to Paris. She finds her way to the National Academy of Music and is taken in by crippled caretaker Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen). Cruel Regine runs the ballet school and Camille (Maddie Ziegler) is a snooty aggressive little girl trying to be a ballerina. Felicie steals Camille's invitation to Mérante's class who is picking the new Clara in The Nutcracker. Victor tells her that he's working for Eiffel who is busy building his tower and the Statue of Liberty.
The animation is functional. This Canadian-French production is equivalent to Illumination Entertainment level. It's fine but not anything ground breaking. The characters are fine. There are the plucky kids against great odds and villains and other archetypes. The story is also fine but a few changes would have helped. Felicie stealing the letter is probably the main mistake. It puts her on the wrong side and lets Camille off the hook. Camille should be bullying the other girls to force them out. Felicie can still learn from Odette and Mérante can simply invite her into the class after the tavern dance. The plot can arrive at the same place without compromising Felicie. It's also off when she sleeps through her audition putting her at fault once again. The dance off is actually quite exhilarating but the climaxing gets a second unnecessary trip around. A Hollywood studio would make everybody an animal and this would probably sell a lot better. Sing is not much better and it made over $600 million. Non-Hollywood doesn't have the formula yet. They don't know how to market and make a modern family-oriented animated movie.
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