Sunday morning at the movies: I didn’t look at my watch

Been to the movies because for the first time in quite some time because there’s been a movie on that doesn’t look like complete and utter garbage. Too harsh on the film industry? Whatever….

Let’s just say that Mao’s Last Dancer is one of my favourite books. A favourite book is one that I have read more than once. All the others are just known as “books”. So, I was very interested to see what Bruce Beresford would do with it. I had also watched Margaret and David review it on Wednesday evening. Margaret cried “buckets”. David was far more stoic in his reaction. I think my reaction is probably somewhere in between Margaret and David.

I didn’t look at my watch….which is always a good sign in a film…but then that may have been because I had forgot to wear it. The telling of the story through flashback was okay. And I know we’re not supposed to compare books with movies, but for me the more interesting part of the book was the first part spent in China. Don’t get me wrong the US experience of Li is fascinating as well but it seemed to be given greater weight in the movie. Aden Young was unrecognisable as the Texan husband of one of the dancers. And what’s with Jack Thompson doing Southern drawl cameos? Is he linked to the funding of Australian movies?

Still it’s all about the dancing, which looked fabulous – even for a ballet dunce like myself. Graeme Murphy choreographed. And the final scene of a performance of the Rite of Spring was grea, Having only ever listened to the music it was a treat to see some dancing to go along with it.

If you don’t choke up and shed a few tears when Li finally meet his parents after so long, you might just have a heart of stone.

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