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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2007!
BALLET SHOES, 2007
Starring: Emilia Fox, Marc Warren, Victoria Wood, Lucy Cohu, Richard Griffiths, Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter, Eileen Atkins
Set in 1930’s London, Ballet shoes tell the story of three ‘accidental’ sisters Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil, adopted by an eccentric explorer, Great Uncle Matthew – Gum – (Richard Griffiths), and raised by Nana and Sylvia Brown (Victoria Wood and Emilia Fox). The three ‘sisters’ make an oath to get their names in the history books; Pauline longs to act, Petrova yearns to be an aviator and Posy aches to become a ballerina. When Gum disappears and money becomes an issue, thus unravels the story of the fight the three girls must endure to mark their place in history, as well as trying to keep their adopted family from falling to tatters.
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Having never read the book myself, I was curious to see how this classic novel was adapted onto a BBC drama. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve never seen a BBC drama which hasn’t been a success. However, I would also like to point out that I’ve rarely been taken with an adaptation of a classic novel. As I lay in bed, headphones in and lights out, I began to watch Ballet Shoes. I was twiddling my thumbs as I waited to see how the well-known actors would look in their role. One person I was particularly looking forward to seeing was Emma Watson. It was her first role outside the Harry Potter franchise, and I was curious to see how she would take the role.
To be honest, I was quite glad that it wasn’t released in the theatres. Without reading the novel, I could tell that something seemed a bit off. As always, characters seem to have a lot more depth in a novel that on screen, but there are a handful of actors and actresses I can name, that can bring out exactly what we want to see on the big screen. As expected, I was astounded by the acting of Marc Warren (Doctor Who, Hogfather and Hustle), who plays the quiet and polite Mr Simpson.
A young actress whose talent I found blew me away was that of Yasmin Paige, who plays the aspiring aviator Petrova. She’s a budding actress and is best known for her role as Maria in The Sarah Jane Adventures. I can definitely say that the acting of Lucy Boynton and Emma Watson came off a little bland.
The characters of Posy and Pauline, I’m assuming, were written to develop from their experiences and actions of what they went through. Petrova, the middle child, is completely different from her sisters, Pauline and Posy. Where Pauline aspires to be a successful and brilliant actress, Posy wishes to become the best ballet dancer after her tutor Madam Fidolia. Out of the three sisters, my favourite would definitely have to be Petrova, purely because she has a maturity about her which outshines that of her sisters, which says quite a lot considering her sisters are the ones who have the most brilliant opportunities handed to them on a silver platter. Yasmin Paige pulls off Petrova’s character brilliantly, and I would definitely love to see her in any upcoming roles she plays.
When it came to the characters of Posy and Pauline, they became divas, and divas I cannot stand. Considering that their characters developed and matured (if only a little), I could definitely understand how they came to be who they were because of the situation they were thrown into.
What disappointed me was the wooden acting of Emma Watson. Hands down, I can definitely say that I was never a big fan of Emma, purely because her acting comes across as, well...wooden, for lack of a better term. I read the Harry Potter books after the movies were released, and I never saw Emma bringing out the best of Hermione. It was similar to Ballet Shoes. Pauline’s character seems two-dimensional and I find having very little sympathy for her when she’s suddenly made understudy for acting like a Prima Donna. When she did her little scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck, I almost gagged (and not in a good way....if there ever is one).
Lucy Boynton very much reminded me of Emma Watson. I saw shabby acting and barely any depth to her character, or the character’s development. I would develop this part of the review, but I’d basically be repeated what I said about Emma Watson.
It was difficult to genuinely connect with Posy and Pauline as characters; instead I saw Lucy and Emma. Being able to establish some form of association with a character is what draws me in to watch a film or television show. I can say that I didn’t genuinely ‘connect’ with any character to the extent where I thought, ‘I know exactly how they feel right now’. On a basic level, yes, but I’m pretty sure that anybody out there in this world can say, ‘Yeah, well, money’s a problem. We haven’t got enough!’
I’m a sucker for little romances, and the one going on between Mr Simpson and Sylvia had me hooked. I found myself tempted to fast-forward to the scenes which had some form of interaction between those two characters than anybody else in the movie. I was genuinely heartbroken when I thought Mr Simpson was courting Theo Dane (portrayed by Lucy Cohu from Torchwood and Silent Witness). I was literally jumping up and down on my bed with joy when Mr Simpson declared his true feelings for Sylvia.
Overall, it’s a ‘cute’ little movie to watch if you ever have any spare time, or feel like watching a movie where you feel like you can’t be bothered to pay attention. I admit, I did find myself drifting in and out of attention, but I found that I didn’t really miss much. I think I’ll read the book and then watch it again; maybe my opinion will change. Who knows? I give it a seven out of ten... (And that’s only because I have a particular liking for –ahem – Marc Warren.)