Sim­ple and sweet

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Training & Education - FILM with Ju­lian Wright

IN the late 1800s, young French or­phan Feli­cie Milliner (Elle Fan­ning) dreams of be­ing a bal­le­rina, but feels sti­fled at the ru­ral or­phan­age where she lives.

She and her best friend Vic­tor (Dane DeHaan) es­cape and head to Paris so Feli­cie can join the Paris Opera Bal­let, but with­out for­mal train­ing it proves to be dif­fi­cult.

Feli­cie as­sumes the iden­tity of priv­i­leged mean girl Camille (Mad­die Ziegler) and takes lessons from care­taker Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), but even­tu­ally the truth must come out about her iden­tity.

The lo­ca­tions are beau­ti­fully ren­dered, but the char­ac­ters look less el­e­gant than those in other an­i­mated films.

But what this low(er) bud­get an­i­ma­tion lacks when it comes to aes­thetic, it makes up for with the en­er­getic and ap­peal­ing voice cast.

Quickly sur­pass­ing her older sis­ter Dakota’s ca­reer, Fan­ning un­veils more skills with a dis­tinctly sweet and en­gag­ing voice, while Ziegler is the po­lar op­po­site, bring­ing an edgy, nasty streak to her bully char­ac­ter.

There are some cute nods to the be­gin­nings of iconic mon­u­ments such as the Eif­fel Tower and Statue of Lib­erty that give this cookie-cut­ter plot some point of dif­fer­ence, but while the story is fa­mil­iar there is sweet­ness about it.

Sim­ply ti­tled and also sim­plis­tic in its sto­ry­telling, Bal­le­rina may still even re­cruit a few new young dancers with its in­fec­tious love for the art.

Feli­cie Milliner (Elle Fan­ning) and Vic­tor (Dane DeHaan) in Bal­le­rina.

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