Never give up on your dreams
This sprightly computer-animated comedy-adventure about a dance-mad young orphan with dreams of becoming a ballerina will pirouette into the hearts of little girls and charm a good many others besides.
The setting is 1879 France and plucky red-headed waif Félicie (Elle Fanning) runs away to Paris with her best friend, wannabe inventor Victor (Dane DeHaan), and bluffs her way into the Opera ballet school. Her ensuing escapades are fairly formulaic: she falls foul of a snooty rich girl rival and her snobbish mother; finds a strict but kind mentor in the Opera’s lame cleaner (Carly Rae Jepsen); and strives to impress the strict ballet master.
Like its heroine, however, Ballerina (aka Leap!) has enough pizzazz to win us over, even if its pop soundtrack does jar a bit. Happily, Fanning’s Félicie has plenty of pep, and so does the animation, with the recreation of Belle Époque Paris a particular delight, giving us a city where the Eiffel Tower is under construction and the undelivered Statue of Liberty still under wraps.
Certificate U. Runtime 86 mins. Directors Éric Warin, Eric Summer
Ballerina is out on Digital download, Blu-ray and DVD now, courtesy of Entertainment One.