Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ballet Shoes (2007)

It's been way too long since I last did a movie review, so here goes!...I've owned a DVD copy of this film for almost a year yet and been meaning to review it. Last night Miss Bea and I enjoyed re-watching it. I remembered liking it but we enjoyed it so much, it is a delightfully fun film!

Synopsis: Set in Thirties London, Ballet Shoes tells the exhilarating tale of orphans Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil, who are adopted by an eccentric explorer, Gum, and raised as sisters by his selfless niece. The timeless and uplifting story revolves around each girl's struggle to fulfil her dreams: Pauline longs to be an actress, Petrova yearns to be an aviator, and Posy seems born to be a ballerina. But when Gum disappears, the money runs out - and the girls have a fight on their hands. Their struggle to balance personal ambition with the need to survive physically, emotionally, and financially, proves moving and comic by turns.

Now for a further look at the characters and actors!

Richard Griffiths as Great Uncle Matthew. Also known as Gum, is a bachelor with a scientific mind. He takes in Sylvia when she was a young girl and sends home three baby girls from his travels. An eccentric man with a kind heart.
Actor Mr. Griffiths other appearances include: Bleak House 2005, Sleepy Hollow and Chariots of Fire.

Emilia Fox as Sylvia Brown. Affectionately called "Garny" (short for Guardian) by the three girls, she is the glue that keeps the family together. An orphan herself, she raises the three girls as her own. She worries about money and trying to give the girls a good start in life and takes little heed to her own failing health. A kind but strong young woman who deserves a day off and a sweet love story of her own.
Actress Emilia Fox's other credits include: Pride & Prejudice 1995 (Georgiana Darcy), David Copperfield 1999, Rebecca 1997, Marple: The Moving Finger 2006. Trivia: Daughter of great period actors Edward Fox and Joanna David.

Victoria Wood as Nana. Nana is Sylvia's old nursemaid/governess who has stayed on to help raise the girls after Gum left. She is practical, wise, and unyielding. Yet she is also thoughtful and a great help in matters of the heart. It is her scheme to make money by renting some of the rooms in their large house.
Actress Victoria Wood hasn't been in any other period film, or in anything else I've seen, such a pity because she was marvelous in this role!

Marc Warren as Mr. John Simpson. Mr. Simpson is first the lodger to rent a room from Sylvia and Nana. He setting up a repair garage for automobiles and his business seems to do rather well. Rather quiet and mysterious, Mr. Simpson has sorrows hidden in his past that come out slowly as he makes friends with the family. He turns out to be a very kind, gentle and helpful to the ladies in their hard times.
I first saw actor Marc Warren as evil Mr. Monks in Oliver Twist 1999 and it was nice to see him in a much kinder role. His other period roles include: Marple: Body In The Library, Marple: Murder At The Vicarage, Poirot: Five Little Pigs.

Gemma Jones & Harriet Walter as Dr. Jakes & Dr. Smith. Two retired teachers who rent lodgings from Sylvia and Nana. They are looking for rooms with bookshelves and a place to smoke and are accordingly given the old library. They teach English and mathematics respectively and offer to teach the three girls free of charge. Sylvia is overwhelmed by their generosity and thankful for the sense of culture they bring. They encourage the girls to put the name Fossil into the history books. Small parts but these talented actresses are always a joy to watch!
Actress Gemma Jones' credits include: Sense & Sensibility 1996 (as Mrs. Dashwood), Jane Eyre 1997 (as Mrs. Fairfax), The Winslow Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest 1987, Poirot: Five Little Pigs.
Actress Harriet Walter's credits include: Sense & Sensibility 1996 (as Fanny Dashwood), The Young Victoria, Little Dorrit, Hard Times 1994 (I haven't seen this), Poirot: Cat Among The Pigeons, Marple: Sleeping Murder. And I love her voice as Jane Austen's Lady Susan in this audio book recording!

Lucy Cohu as Theo Dane. One of four tenants Sylvia and Nana let a room in the big house to. Theo is stylish, spunky, full of energy and a zest for life. A dance instructor herself, Theo suggests that the three Fossil sisters take lessons at Madame Fidolia's Dance Academy. Theo may seem like a shallow creature but she has deep fears of growing old, unattractive and never finding true love. She brings music, life and a fun to the house.
Actress Lucy Cohu's other credits include: Becoming Jane (as Eliza De Feuillide), Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye, Gosford Park, Rebecca 1997, Poirot: The Chocolate Box and The Real Jane Austen (as Cassandra).

Emma Watson as Pauline Fossil. The oldest of the Fossil sisters Pauline has a vivid imagination and dreams of being a star. She tries to act very grown up but is really just a young girl at heart who enjoys playing with her sisters and scheming of ways to become famous. She enjoys dance classes at Madam Fadolia's but her dreams of acting are realized when she tries out for the title role in an Alice In Wonderland play.
Young actress Emma Watson's claim to fame is a star role in no less than six Harry Potter films. I've never seen them (probably never will - don't want to) and wasn't expecting very much from her performance but she did a very good job, especially with the Shakespeare bits she has to recite.

Yasmine Paige as Petrova Fossil. This is Miss Bea's favorite Fossil sister and mine as well. She's the middle sisters and probably the one with the most practical sense. Petrova endures dance classes and helping her sisters on with their dreams but she's more at home in overalls with automobiles and motor oil under her fingernails than in a frilly tutu. Her secret dream is to one day fly airplanes "lie Amy Johnson". Petrova is quieter than her sisters and less ambitious, she notices everything and frequently helps Nana and shares Garny's secrets.
Young actress Yasmine Paige hasn't been in any other period films that I can see but her performance here is wonderful and I hope to see her in other period things!

Lucy Boynton as Posy Fossil. Posy is the youngest Fossil sister and the bright life of the family. She is young and full of spunk and silliness. The one thing she is serious about is dancing. Her parents left her with a pair of ballet slippers as a baby and she dreams of growing into those slippers and being the best ballet dancer ever. She loves the dance classes at Madame Fodolia's and is overjoyed when Madame decides she should focus her studies wholly on ballet.
Young actress Lucy Boynton has just started her career but has already been in three period films to date. I really enjoy her appearances and hope to see more of her. Lucy's other appearances include: Miss Potter and Sense & Sensibility 2008 (as Margaret Dashwood).

Eileen Atkins as Madame Fodolia. A famous Russian ballerina reforge turned dance instructor. Madame has a strong character and a rather demanding personality but she means well. Her love is ballet and she trains Posy and instills her the drive to succeed. I enjoy all of Eileen Atkins' performances to date and would love to see her in a Jane Austen adaptation one day soon. A veteran British actor she has starred in several period films including: Cranford, Vanity Fair 2004, Bertie & Elizabeth, Gosford Park, David Copperfield 2000, Cold Comfort Farm, Poirot: Murder On The Orient Express, Marple: Towards Zero, A Hazard of Hearts, Oliver Twist 1982.

The in costumes Ballet Shoes are lovely! Because they aren't rich the ladies make many of their own dresses and costumes for their dances and auditions. Perfectly exquisite 1930's pattern fabric and styles! There are even some beautiful Renaissance costumes.

Music in the film ranges from lively popular tunes of the 1930's, tap dance tunes, show tunes from various plays, powerful opera arias and an exquisite main theme.
Sets are vibrant and beautiful, full of period furniture, colorful sets, laces and beautiful rich fabrics.

My Recommendation: Definitely a must see! This is a delightfully fast moving film that follows the Fossil sisters from their humble starts to the fulfillments of their dreams. They battle many troubles including their own sudden stardom but they are encouraged to be young ladies of truth and honor. There is so much humor in this film, hardly any swearing, no sexual content, and virtues are valued. This is a clean and sweet film that the whole family will love. Another delightful film from the BBC!

If you haven't seen it, you might have a look at the trailer, you can also watch it on YouTube but I think it's definitely worth buying a DVD copy!

Have you seen Ballet Shoes? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this film. Hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Sincerely Your's,


Michaela said...

Oooh, this sounds like such a GOOD, whimsical, heartwarming movie! :) Funny thing is, my family actually owns it, though we haven't seen it. A friend made a copy for us a little while ago, but we kind of pushed it aside...
Now, question for you. You mentioned that there is "hardly any swearing." Obviously there is a little. ;) What do you mean when you refer to swearing? Just want to check before we go ahead and watch the movie. :)

Thanks - and thanks for this fun post!
~ blessings,

OldFashionedCharm said...

Michaela, this is definitely a heartwarming family film! When I said "hardly any swearing" I actually couldn't remember if I'd heard any swearing at all. So I just figured they might have used the Lord's name in vain maybe once but I really can't remember hearing any swearing.
I definitely recommend this film, I think you and your sisters would love it! :)

Abigail and Lydia said...

I love, love, LOVE Ballet Shoes. It's one of my all time favorites!

The Editrix said...

I love this movie! Great review. :-D

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