A woman on the verge of becoming principal dancer in her ballet company has trouble balancing the demands of her career with her personal life. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: PG13 — Release Date: 3-JAN-2006 — Media Type... more »: DVD« less
I love watching ballet or any dance form being performed with grace and skill, so when I heard about Neve Campbell's cooperative effort with Robert Altman I had to get it. The content is eye dazzling and the story line keeps it interesting. The music is also wonderful and I would love to have it on my ipod!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Bronwen W. from WINTER PARK, FL Reviewed on 8/25/2009...
Gorgeous dance sequences and great variations on My Funny Valentine.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Dance fans everywhere will LOVE this. I certainly did!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 06/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by Robert Altman, this film is about a year in the life of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, which is the true star of the film. It also stars Neve Campbell, who wrote and produced it as well, and it was surely an act of love on her part. Even though she was originally trained as a dancer, she still had to train for three months, seven hours a day before even beginning to train with the company, which took another few months before shooting began. She is a wonderful dancer and The Company brings this all out. This is not a film about one person though. And it is not a film with lots of interlocking stories. Basically, it is a film about the creative process itself, and how an idea gets turned into an elaborate work of art. It's hard to get the feel of this onto the screen. But Mr. Altman is a master in making sure it all come together. It takes more than hard work to be a member of the company. It takes talent, dedication and pain and there are a few shots of the dancers' feet that made my own corns and calluses seem like nothing. Malcolm McDowell is cast as the artistic director and he is terrific. He's eccentric and moody and wonderfully creative as he has an intuitive understanding of how a new ballet will all come together in performance. Most of the dancing shows the new and experimental although there is no doubt that the company is classically trained. There are a few small stories, but all of them just add to understanding of the company as a whole. For example, there is a romance between Neve Campbell and James Franco, cast as a young chef. This story is basically used to underscore the demanding life of the ballerina, which forces her to also work as a waitress in order to support herself. Then there is a poignant scene where a dancer snaps an Achilles tendon during rehearsal. Everyone knows that this means she will never dance again. But the show must go on. During the Grande Finale performance itself, one of the dancers is injured and another dancer takes her place in such a way that the performance seems seamless. All the dancing bore the touch of Robert Desrosiers and Lar Lubovitich, two master choreographers who also had roles in the film. I must also give a standing ovation to the cinematographers who shot this film with multiple cameras and high definition video. I know I love watching dancers on the stage. But the kind of angles and close-ups that are possible in film transform the experience of watching dance into an almost participatory experience. There are good extras on the DVD, including interviews and some extended dance performances. I just couldn't stop watching and absorbing all the backstage lore. This is a wonderful film and I give it one of my highest recommendations - especially for dance fans everywhere."
A Tour de Force Of A FIlm!
Jana L. Perskie | New York, NY USA | 08/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love ballet! I love good dance in general. So watching Robert Altman's "The Company" was 112 minutes of pure bliss. Altman takes us onstage, and off-stage, for a look at the world of dance, dancers, choreographers, set and costume designers and a ballet director, Alberto Antonelli, played wonderfully well by Malcolm McDowell. Actress Neve Campbell, best known for her roles in horror flicks, was trained for years in classical ballet. She is absolutely beautiful, and an extraordinarily lithe, exciting dancer. (No more scary movies Neve!!). It is obvious that she has put a lot of herself into this film. Not only does she play a major role, but she co-wrote and co-produced the movie. She did all of her own dancing, and seems to fit right in with the professional dancers from the Joffrey Ballet Troupe of Chicago, which is featured here.
The film is loosely structured and documentary-like. The viewer gets a fly on the wall look at a dancer's life as Altman takes us behind the scenes, up close and personal. We watch both the professional and personal - from the grueling physical toll of constant practice to brilliant performances. The dancers' effort to perfect their mastery of dance is totally honest, and this artistic honesty really makes the film as special as a live performance. There are some spectacular dance performances throughout, with splendid colors, electric energy, creative costumes, and wonderful footwork which showcase the Joffrey Ballet Company. There's an opening modern piece where dancers leap across the stage with streamers, that is just fabulous. In another sequence a ballerina dances on and around a swing. Altman's camera emphasizes her grace and elegance, and this is one of the movie's high points for me. Neve Cambell also dances a marvelous pas de deux onstage, during an outdoor concert performance, in the rain. The effects are incredible. The music is "My Funny Valentine." The last number, the piece de resistance, is more garish than grande, unfortunately. The costumes and choreography look as if they had been designed for Sesame Street. I still enjoyed it, however. Just wanted to be fair and balanced here.
Ballet director Antonelli, (McDowell), is a temperamental tyrant who meddles in every aspect of the ballet. But he is also charismatic, funny, and acknowledged as the troupe's backbone. Neve Campbell plays Ry, a member of the ensemble who is increasingly given important roles, as her talent merits. Her love interest, (James Franco), is a hunk! The chemistry between them is dynamite! We are also shown the tempermental behavior, tantrums, stress and strife that go on backstage.
There's no major story here, just enough to entice. The main attraction is fantastic dance. Highly recommended for aficionados and beginners alike. JANA
Simon Crowe | Greenville, SC United States | 03/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE COMPANY is not of Robert Altman's best films. Like so much of his work, (THE PLAYER, MASH) it takes place inside a particular subculture with its own set of rules. In this case it's the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. THE COMPANY is the story of a season in the life of a ballet company, from the opening night parties to behind the scenes squabbling.
Ry (the beautiful Neve Campbell) is a second tier dancer who gets a chance to star when another dancer is injured. She becomes a favorite of the company director (Malcolm McDowell) and dances in a number of other roles. Along the way she falls in love with a handsome chef (James Franco).
That's about as much story as there is, although there are a number of other plotlines involving the other dancers (all of whom play themselves) that are started and then dropped. What THE COMPANY is really about is what goes on behind the scenes in the dancers lives. Bad relationships, injuries, personality conflicts, issues with the director (McDowell preens brilliantly and provides all the film's humor) , etc. There are also ballets, presented both in performance and in rehearsal, and THE COMPANY is also a celebration of the art and athleticism of these dancers.
Don't go see THE COMPANY expecting a happy ending, or any ending. Robert Altman, as always, is interested in the weird interactions of human behavior. THE COMPANY is a unique and worthy film. Recommended."
A living memory
Scientist Girl | Massachusetts | 04/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a former dancer and one who participated in many performances, I have to admit this movie was like a living memory for me. I think, for a person to truly enjoy and appreciate this movie, they have to have either been involved in the performing arts at one point in their life, or have a deep appreciation for what the performing arts really are.
The manner in which this movie was filmed, makes one feel as though they are a member of the Joffery Ballet, themselves, living the life a dancer lives. There is a fluid, active plot, that is true to life as it occurs. This movie will be lost on mainstream movie-goers who need high action, intricately over involved plot lines and theaterics. That is why we have Hollywood. This film, reminds us, why we have the arts. It is a painful, draining devotion both on the body and the emotions, but we continue to do it because we are in love with it, and are addicted to the incredible result we get.
It is the subtleties that makes this movie great. The arrogance of the ballet's director, and the veteran dancers. The flakiness and brilliance of the choreographers. The part where Neve Campbell's character goes home after her big performance in the beginning and bursts into tears while drawing a bath. The girls discussing their nausea while learning to perform the dance piece on the swing. The dancers crowding into small apartments to find a place to live. The subtlety in the different ways a dancer movies his or her hips or defies gravity in their jumps that makes them superior to other dancers in the corps..
The performances that are filmed are what make the Joffery Ballet superb. The mixture of modern dance and classical ballet. This is a fantastic film, and anyone who truly KNOWS the performing arts, will understand it as that."
Very Interesting and enlightening movie
Simple Man | 01/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This moive watches like a "day in the life" kind of movie. I date a former international ballerina, and I am very interested in her experiences in ballet. Although she thought the movie was just decent, she did say that it sheds some light into the everyday lives of ballerinas including injuries, not having money, wierd directors, etc. I felt this movie allowed me to get a better view of what is like to be a ballet dancer. Plus, you've got to love Malcolm McDowell!"