Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Company

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking
Violence/Scariness:Some tense scenes
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2003

Form follows content in Robert Altman’s latest film. As in the lives of the ballet troupe it portrays, it is the dance that takes center stage. The rest of the characters’ lives are glimpsed only around the edges. The result is intimate and moving, with dance numbers that are thrillingly filmed and backstage stories that are quietly observed.

This is not about nutcrackers and tutus. This is about people who make the ultimate commitment to art and, especially, it is about the art that they make. Altman is not just showing us dancers here. He is showing us himself.

Neve Campbell (the Scream series, “Party of Five”), a former ballet dancer, brought the idea to Altman (M*A*S*H, Gosford Park) and she stars as Ry, a member of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. As the opening credits begin, we hear the usual pre-performance announcements directing the audience to turn off their cell phones and reminding them that photography is prohibited. Then we see a stunning performance of a ballet called “Tensile Involvement,” a postmodern angular variation on a maypole dance (or maybe the ribbons on a toeshoe), with dancers interacting with stretched banners and the credits crossing the screen as though they were a part of the choreography.

The off-stage scenes have a loose, documentary feel but they are as meticulously observed and as carefully positioned as a ballerina en pointe. Ry’s two sets of parents — divorced mother and father and their new spouses — each bring flowers. When she gives them back for a moment so that she can talk with someone, the two couples wait a beat, look at each other, and then switch flowers, so each holds the ones they originally brought to her. Dancers battle the limits of the physical world as they try to transcend their own sometimes reluctant bodies as well as the pulls of gravity, and of time. Ry’s non-dancer boyfriend shows that he brings the same kind of care, artistry, and precision to his work that she does to hers.

The rehearsal scenes mix art and drama as the choreographers treat the primary dancers the way sculptors treat clay while the back-up dancers are “marking” the moves off to the side. Dancers matter-of-factly handle injuries, juggle other jobs, and borrow space for their sleeping bags on each other’s floors. The company director breezily shmoozes and evades with just about everyone, but when he accepts an award he is bracingly honest about the way he was treated as a young boy who loved dance.

One technical point worth noting is that this is the first film to use a new post-production process called Darbee Vision, which adds depth and vivid color to video, and which is ideally suited for photographing the dance numbers, which are, after all, center stage. They are lovely, even the weird and garish number that looks something like a Chinese New Year parade, and especially an exquisite pas de deux to a melancholy “My Funny Valentine,” danced outdoors in pouring rain.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language, locker-room nudity, and sexual references and situations. There are tense scenes and injuries. Characters drink and smoke.

Families who see this movie should talk about the commitment required for the dancers and the people who run the company.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Turning Point about two friends, one who stayed in the ballet company and never had a family and one who left to raise her children, who envy each other’s lives. They should also see the brilliant The Red Shoes.



Previous Posts

A New Alphabet Book for Women's History Month: Rad American Women A-Z
Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! is a wonderful new alphabet book to teach girls, boys, and their families abou

posted 3:37:56pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening this Month: March 2015
Happy March! Looking forward to warmer days and better movies. Some of what we're looking forward to this month: March 6 "Chappie," from "District 9's" Neill Blomkamp, is the story of a robot whose artificial intelligence may just rise to the level of a personality, even a soul, with Hugh Ja

posted 3:35:27pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

A Purim Take on Uptown Funk -- Shushan Funk
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KsJKSew4BvY?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Happy Purim! May this be a year when all the Hamens of the world are vanquished. This tale, was once told In the days of Achashverosh This one needs a new girl Needs a good girl A strai

posted 12:36:54pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy
We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, "Star Trek's" half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original "Star Trek" were provocative polit

posted 12:00:09pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
Actress Daniele Watts stars as missing teenager Crystal Gladwell in Muted, winner of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival short film competition, showing on HBO throughout March 2015. Muted fol

posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.