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Ballerina
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Reviews & Ratings for
Leap! More at IMDbPro »Ballerina (original title)

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29 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Familiar but charming, definitely worth a watch

7/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
5 January 2017

Being a lifelong fan of animation and ballet, 'Ballerina' seemed very appealing to me. Plus who doesn't love an underdog/person who wants to succeed at something they love against adversity story.

While not up there with my favourite animated films, or one of my favourite films of 2016, 'Ballerina' is nonetheless charming with a lot of delights. It will delight the younger crowd, but fellow ballet fans will also be charmed and there should be enough for adults to find value. 'Ballerina' is much more than a film for "little girls" or "just for kids" and does a good job telling a type of story that would be relatable to anybody.

Coming from somebody who overcame disabilities and bullying and wanted to sing professionally and get training and experience, it took a long time but I got there and have not looked back, 'Ballerina' clicked with me.

Of course 'Ballerina' isn't immune to flaws. The story is very familiar and does get predictable, while the characters are very likable but slightly skim-surface archetypes. However, this may seem very nit-picky and can easily be ignored by people and only problems for the toughest of critics.

Aside from these, there were also reservations with some of the soundtrack and one voice cast member. The music is often beautiful and infectious, with some genuine enchantment, but could have done with more classical music choices and less pop. A good deal of the pop tunes are very catchy, but more Tchaikovsky would have suited the film better and been more dynamic and a few others grate. Dane DeHaan doesn't sound right as Victor and doesn't fit, sounding too mature for a character clearly intended to be much younger, either he should have tried to sound younger and more boyish or the character should have been voiced by somebody in his late-teens.

However, the animation is very good, often excellent, especially in the beautifully studied and meticulous background details and the intricate and graceful choreography that synchronises with the music very well and shows animators that have clearly done their homework. As said, the soundtrack does mostly work, while the script makes a real attempt to appeal to both children and adults (being a family film) and, with a nice mix of humour, pathos and life values and never being over-complicated or childish, it does succeed.

The story, even with the familiarity and predictability, goes at a neat pace and as well as having a lot of charm and heart the messaging never comes over as preachy and very much valuable. It is also easy to see why anybody would find it inspiring and easy to relate to, as a young adult both were very easy for me. Even though archetypal, the characters are still likable, the title character has her flaws but it is easy to quickly warm to her. The voice acting, DeHaan aside, is strong, with Elle Fanning and Carly Rae Jensen bringing emotion and spirit to their characters and Maddie Ziegler stealing the show.

In summary, a familiar film but a very charming one and one to be seen without prejudice. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A delightful underdog story.

7/10
Author: Guy Jeffries from London, Uk
25 December 2016

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

69% 7/10

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Ballerina-Reuniting with a great art: Ballet

Author: danielepinat from Canada
3 March 2017

Tired of watching modern dance movies that has you say: Another one of Hollywood street dancer groups with all its acrobatics that must have come from America's got talent aiming for Hollywood that tosses aside the traditional dance of Ballet?

Produced at L'Atelier Animation in Montreal, Canada, Ballerina (2016) is majestic at all levels from the animation to the story itself.

A basic story of a young orphaned girl Félicie (Elle Fanning) who dreams to become a ballerina leaves with her friend Victor (Dane DeHaan) who also has a dream that of becoming a famous inventor, both go to Paris to meet their destiny.

What makes this a beautiful animation is that the story is not bogged by irrelevant metaphors or irony that distracts from the story that would have us distracted to the relevance of the movie based on something that could happen anywhere such as achieving one's goal. One does not say during the film that this scene is ridiculous that it diverts us from the message.

A success indeed.

First of all, the story itself. Set back in the 1800's where Paris is growing and where all hope is possible and notwithstanding the fact that Félicie (Elle Fanning) will take the identity of another person Camille Le Haut (Maddie Ziegler) is not new in the move world. Yet, the story progresses logically to have her be discovered as a fraud. What Merante (Terrence Scammell) sees in Félicie when he discovers the truth is what he sees in himself, one with passion. As a fact when he says to Camille and Felicie why they dance, in his harshness in his selection of candidates lies his humanity. He doesn't insult Camille but asks her why she dances?

Here we have the theme: Are we born to dance or do we become dancers that can be applied in all aspects of society? Are we born with a gift or do we become the gift?

Secondly, the choreography is absolutely amazing. It compares with all the acrobatics seen on America's got talent or in movies such as Rocky Balboa. Remember his training against this Russian guy? We see two types of training, the natural versus the mechanical training using modern equipment.

What about the competitive choreography between the two girls? Superbe!

If the film gave me shivers three times then I admit to the success of the film animation to have struck a chord in me. And, if my grandchild was able to relate to his life one scene which was the union of Félicie and as Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) and which has also brought me back to when I bought tickets to the Ballet then I consider this animation a true marvel to which I give 10/10.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Dreaming's easy, but chasing it needs all the effort.

7/10
Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
4 May 2017

Well, I praise a lot, particularly the European animations for preserving the 2D animation. That does not mean they lack behind in 3D format. The recent film 'The Little Prince' was the perfect example of a quality 3D animation outside Hollywood. Pars with Disney, Pixar standards. Technically, as well as the story contents. But the quantities are very less and also making it a bit expensive. So they usually prefer producing it in the English language for the wider/international market, keeping North America particularly in mind. This is a French English-language film that co-produced by Canada.

This is a nice film, that particularly targets little kids and mostly the girl audience to inspire Ballerina. Cute characters and scenes, but very familiar story. Shares lots of similarities with 'August Rush', except the field of interest. I am not an expert or know all about Ballet, but some of the parts involving them were turned me off. I know the gravitation force is irrelevant in animation since they're not real world to comply with science, but maybe I'm being an adult and knowing that stuff might have influenced me to think that way. It reminds me I'm really an adult, though this film should be watched as a kid despite whatever you are. However, nothing affected me from enjoying it.

It sets in the 80s of the 19th century France. At the time when Eiffel Tower and Statue of Libery were on the construction, a poor orphan girl named Felicie escapes orphanage with another boy to pursue her dream to be a ballerina. Then they arrive in Paris, and very soon they find their separate ways to achieve the goals. Not all smooth sail, especially for her. So she takes the opportunity that comes her way, even after knowing it was wrong to do.

❝You have something that she can only dream of: passion!❞

From there, with all the complications tailing her, how far she could go to make her dream come true. Which also includes the amount of dedication put on her undertaking to meet the expectations of her trainer, rivals and many others. And to show the world the interest is not simply based on enthusiasm, but willingness to sacrifice anything for it. Her journey from nothing to the edge of something new to define her life is the film that briefs for just short of 90 minutes.

This is not another 'Billy Elliot'. Animations are usually comedy, fantasy and musical, but recently the adventures and science fictions are surging. I don't remember I ever have seen an animated dance flick. Not the classical dance, not in the modern 3D animation format. The closest one was a decade old 'Happy Feet'. So that makes it is a unique product and comes under a must see for all the animation fans. But the storyline is predictable and many sequences were intentionally dragged to be cliché. Because it works, particularly if they're aiming for the younger generation who haven't seen many films in their lives. Only we the grownups whine.

Most of the voice-over artists are well known Americans actors which boosted the film. The character combinations are good. It brought the variety, especially slightly to ride off the main theme in a few occasions. Like the boy's interest in inventing things which were other major parts of the twist and turns in the narration. It is not a great animation if it was from Hollywood, but coming from France and the theme it focused on, the effort must be appreciated. Overall a much better film than what the average reviews and ratings around the internet says. It is a ballet film means not those who love it should watch it, but those target audience should not miss it. That means generally worth a watch, but not for everyone.

7/10

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Charming movie about chasing your dreams and never giving up

8/10
Author: Barracuda007
17 May 2017

Im a huge fan for animation, I heard about this movie and didn't really know what to expect. What I got was a beautiful movie with the positive messages of chasing your dreams and never giving up on them no matter how hard things may seem.

I do kinda wish the subplot of victor could have tied in more with the main focus of Felicie but it is what it is, I ain't complaining.

Finally, It was hilarious and very charming too. Perfect for families. Enjoy the movie!

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful but frustratingly disappointing

3/10
Author: Gangrelcat
30 July 2017

I'm going to keep this short with a list of positives and negatives;

Positives: It looks beautiful, both the settings and the movements.

Negatives: Horrible story. Terribly written dialogues, characters and comedy. The action scene at the end makes no sense and comes out of nowhere. The moral of the story seems to say that it's OK to cheat and lie, for as long as you have passion everything will work out. Music that doesn't fit the scene, mood or time-frame. Horrendous voice acting, going for "star power" instead of talent.

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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Great movie with a major fail!

9/10
Author: StrayFeral from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
24 March 2017

I saw this just few days ago in a local theater. In brief:

The good: + Great visuals + Nice music + Cool story

The bad: - Teen pop in a music about classical ballet! - Daisy Dukes-like pants in a 1900 France?

So generally I enjoyed the movie. It is sort of Cinderella story. My little one did not wanted to see it, so I went alone. However, this is a movie about classical ballet. There are few moments, where they actually are supposed to dance on a classical music background, so in the beginning of the movie there is a scene with the music from Swan Lake, in the middle of the movie there is a ballet school with classical music background and in the end, the final scene is supposed to be showing The Nutcracker, however on this one they play (*drumroll please*) ... CHEESY TEEN POP!!! Yep, that's right - we get ballerinas dancing ballet, supposedly on the music of the Nutcracker, but instead there is some cheesy teen pop! This is the major fail I talk about. Seriously, you cannot ruin a movie in such a bad way normally. No idea what talent you need to come up with such a stupid idea. Instead play the Nutcracker music for a minute until the credits start to flow, then transition to the teen pop. Would be much better, but no - they failed it. Also - in 1900 France they show us a girl wearing leggings and something similar to daisy dukes on top. Hellooooo? Reality check here? There is no such a girl, even in Paris in 1900s which would wear such a thing.

But again - in general the movie is fun and amusing, despite the few horrible moments I mentioned. It is also little surreal, as they show some pretty cool flying, but it's a cartoon after all, so I don't mind the daisy dukes so much (but I seriously do mind the music!).

Bring your kids, enjoy!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Part Anastasia, Part Little Orphan Annie; Wholly Appropriate for Children

8/10
Author: svikasha (svikash.akkineni@gmail.com) from Dallas, Texas (USA)
19 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although there are many children's movies in recent memory that appeal to aspiring singers, the offering of films and even television shows for aspiring dancers is dismal. It's not like there isn't an audience. How many millions of young girls across the world take ballet classes? "Leap!" offers an alternative to recent children's movies like "Sing" to cater to all the aspiring dancers and ballerinas among us.

"Leap!" truly captures the magic of Paris at the turn of the century. As far as an animated film can anyways. The scenes of Paris's cobblestone roads and the Eiffel tower under construction are mesmerizing. Although the animation isn't necessarily top-notch for 2016, it is decent enough to be entertaining. "Leap!" tells the tale of an orphan from Brittany named Félicie, a fierce and strong spirited redhead who strongly resembles Anastasia from the iconic 1997 flick in both appearance and backstory. Félicie is an orphan who doesn't know her parents or origins. Her only link to her past is a music box with a dancer which sparks a passion for dance that leads her on a journey to Paris where she steals the identity of a cruel aristocrat's daughter named Camille Le Haut to join the Paris Opera Ballet in her place. She is accompanied by an aspiring inventor named Victor who becomes Gustave Eiffel's assistant and almost names the Statue of Liberty, "The Statue of Puberty".

While the story of "Leap!" isn't exactly unique, the best part of the narrative is the girl positive message. Although there is a chosen romantic lead for the main character, this side-story doesn't overshadow the broader story of overcoming adversity and rivalry. The lack of romance in the film makes it more realistic and puts it in stark contrast to Disney's usual offering. Felicie and her rival ultimately compete for the role of Clara in The Nutcracker. Guided by her mentor, the retired dancer Odette, Felicie overcomes her lack of formal training and becomes very talented. At one point, Odette tells Felicie, "Build on this. Feel your anger and your pain and your sorrow and your joy, and put it all into your dance. Live the music, feel it. Every note, every sound, every harmony needs to have your body vibrating from the end of your hair to the tips of your toes. And then, and only then, will you take her down". The rivalry between Félicie and Le Haut culminates in a final fight scene that occurs on the top of the Eiffel tower.

Overall, adults may find "Leap!" enjoyable on its own. But it is definitely made for kids. At least the soundtrack was on point. From classic ballet music to Demi Lovato and modern pop. If you have a daughter, or son for that matter, who has ever shown interest in dancing or ballet. Then your child simply must watch this movie. Another one like it won't come out for a while. That makes it a parental obligation.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Overall good, but I can't stand Carly Rae Jepsen's voice for Odette

7/10
Author: Rettiysa Tarigan from Indonesia
10 June 2017

A story about an orphaned girl and her aspiring inventor friend escaping the orphanage to pursue their dreams. Decent, enjoyable, cliché with a hint of Karate Kid in it. I am quite happy to watch it from the beginning to its very end, but only one thing I can't stand, which is Carly Rae Jepsen's voice. I imagined Odette wouldn't sound like that. It's completely unexpected, not in a good way. It lacks passion and charisma of one who used to be the prima, the best ballerina. Her job at portraying Odette is the only thing that holds me back from re-watching this film, which is such a shame because the story and the animation are worth watching twice.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Ballerina is a great animation film

8/10
Author: Peter Parker from United States
26 May 2017

Ballerina is a great french-Canadian animation film about 2 waifs who escape their orphanage and go to Paris to reach their dreams & never give up, Félicie (Elle Fanning) with a passion a natural talent for dance & Victor (Dane Dehaan) an inventor. Beautiful music, landscapes & sceneries, a Belle Époque tale that involves the construction of the Eiffel Tower & the Statue of Liberty. A kindly maid & a distinguished professor manage her to succeed. A movie for the whole family.

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