Ballerina Reviewed by Clayton Barnett

The Premise
Set in 1879 Paris. An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina and flees her rural Brittany for Paris, where she passes for someone else and accedes to the position of pupil at the Grand Opera house.

The Review
Get ready for your daughters to drag you along to this fleet-footed and funny against-the-odds story of a young orphan girl.

If you’ve seen the trailer you know this is pretty predictable and undemanding stuff, and my three young female cousins (aged 3, 6 and 8) lapped it up - loving the incessantly perky Felicie and her never-quit spirit. At a perfect 90 minutes the story moves along at an entertaining pace and the girls enjoyed the consistent pratfalls and comedic touches, along with the thrilling conclusion amongst the construction of the Statue of Liberty.

That was one of the highlights for me – a wee history lesson for the kids. Faithfully recreating 1879 Paris, Felicie’s partner in crime Victor working for the tower’s engineer Gustave Eiffel, who also built said Statue of Liberty. This was actually discussed after the movie so that was an unexpected educational bonus! And if you have any boys in tow Victor’s crazy inventions will keep them entertained.

The ballet itself is beautifully animated and en pointe, including a gorgeous scene set to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Plus there’s the usual girl-pop soundtrack – with Demi Lovato’s Confident a highlight - that keeps things humming along.

While an inspiring story about chasing your dreams, there is an unnecessary focus on relationships, especially for their age. The success of Moana shows you can make a successful coming of age movie without the need for a romantic interest. Plus I reminded the girls that it’s not okay to go out chasing boys the night before a big audition – the instructors tell her otherwise but she still gets away with it!

The Verdict
Ballerina is en pointe for any ballet mad girl - with consistent laughs and impressively animated performances. It might be a drag for the parents but at a fleet-footed 90 minutes you’ll be pirouetting out in no time.  

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 12th January 2017
Rating: G
Duration: 89 minutes
Genre:  Animation, Family
Starring: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler and Carly Rae Jepsen
Director: Eric Summer, √Čric Warin

The Extras
Madison Ziegler (from Dance Moms) is voicing a character in this animation.