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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 ...
Although the U.S. version of this movie was originally distributed by The Weinstein Company, and still credited as such in the version of the film that was theatrically released, the company's and Harvey Weinstein's executive producer credits do not appear in the home media version due to the bankruptcy of the company. See more »
Odette nicknames Félicie "Sherlock Holmes". The first Sherlock Holmes story was published in 1887 (possibly the year the movie is set) in an English magazine and wouldn't have been known in France until sometime after. See more »
[referring to his crudely built wings]
I call them... Chicken Wings!
Chickens... don't... FLY!
See more »
The title doesn't appear until the end of the film. See more »
Something tells me there's more to the film than just a wannabe ballerina setting out to achieve her dreams. I could be very wrong but I believe his to be a personal accomplishment for French director/screenplay writer Eric Summer who comes from Brittany himself, where this story starts at an orphanage in 1879.
Enlisting the talent of French animator who was partly responsible for one of my favourite animated movies, Belleville Rendez-vous, Éric Warin sits alongside Summer in the director's chair and what they give us is a delightful underdog story.
The focus of the story is on Félicie, voiced by Elle Fanning, an ambitious yet rebellious orphan girl who dreams of becoming a dancer, constantly attempting to flee the orphanage to Paris, in pursuit of her ambition.
She's not alone in either dream-chasing or escaping the orphanage. Victor, voiced by Dane DeHaan, an obvious admirer of hers also wishes to leave to become a famous inventor, so the two of them embark on an adventure finally reaching Paris and with various strokes of good fortunate, end up where they both want to be.
The voices don't necessarily match their characters, DeHaan being far to old (apologies, 30 isn't old, but...) to voice a teenage orphan. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen does a fine job of voicing broken ballerina, Odette, but I'm most impressed with Sia's music video dancing star, Maddie Ziegler, voicing the spoilt, stuck-up Camille.
It has all the ingredients of a simple yet pleasing underdog story with some impressive and enticing animation. The dances themselves are superbly gracefully and the details are brilliant. There's troublesome emotions, difficult choices and quite a few triumphs with a clear message of never giving up and what ever you do, do it with heart.
It's predictable but that's forgivable being a children's film. It's loaded with touching gestures and typical twists that make the film memorable but is equally loaded with unnecessary silliness and feels a little rushed in places, possibly to keep children's attention.
It's not a musical but the soundtrack that accompanies the film really stands out with some great tracks from Magical Thinker, Chantal Kreviazuk and Camila Mora. Klaus Badelt does a graceful and enchanting score that does well to stand alone from Tchaikovsky's ballet greats of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker.
It's good sign not hearing any disturbances for the young audience and my God-Daughter seemed to enjoy it giving a little dance at the end. It's far from perfect but there's some great scenes and you can see the effort was put in. It's good light-hearted entertainment for the whole family.
Running Time: 8 The Cast: 6 Performance: 7 Direction: 7 Story: 8 Script: 7 Creativity: 8 Soundtrack: 9 Job Description: 9 The Extra Bonus Points: 0
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