From Baz Lurhrmann -- the director of the award-winning hits ROMEO & JULIET and MOULIN ROUGE! -- comes STRICTLY BALLROOM ... the hilariously funny romantic comedy that's sure to leave you laughing, cheering, and feeling gr... more »eat! It's the magical story of a championship ballroom dancer who's breaking all the rules, and his ugly duckling dancing partner. Together they make their dreams come true! Now celebrating its glorious 10th Anniversary -- you're sure to enjoy this exhaustively funny comedy as it dances and soars its way straight into your heart. Critics everywhere fell madly in love with this big-screen treat -- and so will you!« less
More than just a dance movie...great life lessons are here
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Baz Luhrmann at his finest. This terrific film is really three movies in one. First, there's the tremendous dance movie whcih centers on Scott Hastings (Paul Mecurio) and his struggles to introduce 'new steps' to the sheltered world of Austrailian ballroom dancing. For dance afficiandos, despite the broad comedy that infuses the movie, the dancing is the real thing. Mecurio is a formally trained dancer and you simply can't fake, edit, or body-double the moves he pulls off in this film. Even if you're not a dancer, Mecurio's athletiscism alone is worth seeing.The second movie is a Dirty Dancing-style, boy-meets-ugly-duckling tale. The story allows you to peek behind the covers of a first generation Australian and her awkward attempts to fit into a new culture while maintaining her European ties at home.The third movie is what sets Strictly Ballroom apart from the field - tremendously funny, broad caricatures squabbling around the periphery of Scott and his struggle to bring his 'new steps' to the Pan-Pacific Championships. Pat Thompson is hysterical as Doug's mother Shirley, and Bill Hunter is wonderfully over-the-top as dancing kingmaker Barry Fife ('There are no new steps!'). But attention first-time viewers - keep your eyes on Barry Otto as Scott's father, Doug Hastings. This odd, seemingly shell of a man is actually the emotional core of the film. He provides the movies funniest moments (particularly - as other reviewers have alluded to - a flashback sequence so over-the-top hilarious that it defies description) and its most relevatory ones.Play this film over and over again and you will never be disappointed."
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer! A movie WALLOW!
R. L. Pulliam | Oakland, CA USA | 03/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Australian gem is one of those rare films that entertains, thrills and pokes fun at an established activiity (in this case, a ballroom dance federation).
To take this film seriously is to miss out on one of the great moviegoing/ moviewatching experiences of the past 15 years.
In a nutshell, an up-and-coming champion ballroom dancer gets bored dancing the same tired steps that everyone has danced in competition the past 50 years and wants to break out and do things his way. Of course, his way is the better way, but that causes all the angst, high drama, dashed hopes and utter hilarity that ensues as forces clash to prevent the young man from taking the ballroom dancing world by storm and up to a new level.
Of course, it's what we've all, always, expected: Things don't change in such events because those who judge and teach can only judge/teach that with which they are familiar.
The cast is perfect, from the dashing young lead embodied by Australian ballet principal Paul Mercurio to the shy, at-first clumsy female lead played by Tara Morice (who also lends her vocals to Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" in a stunning rooftop pas de deux as she starts learning how to dance with him).
Paul's mother -- beautifully and hysterically portrayed by Pat Thomson -- and his seemingly introverted, odd father -- a wonderfully giddy Barry Otto -- are perfectly realized, as are all the other roles, including Bill Hunter's terrifically change-resistant Barry Fife, president of the dance federation.
This is probably Baz Luhrmann's most mainstream movie, since it's more firmly grounded in the now than anything else he's done.
Be on the lookout for a stunning cinematic moment during an outdoor sequence at the girl's house with the lead learning from her father how to correctly dance the Paso Dobles. When it's clear he's gotten the hang of it, the camera does a closeup on him turning and then cuts to an oncoming train, that parallels the house, sweeping down the lower right of the screen. It's one of those Luhrmann touches that set him apart from most other working directors.
"Strictly Ballroom" is a wonderful entertainment that flows along so quickly..and has dramatic highs...and even more thrilling dancing highs...that most of you will be very sorry when it's over.
But never fear...it holds up very well on repeat viewings. It's one of my most-played videos."
wpmld | Hercules, CA United States | 06/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, maybe that's an overstatement, but the first time I watched this movie, I checked it out of the library. I was a recently divorced single parent of two, struggling with a house note and bills I couldn't pay. On this particular day, I was fighting a bad cold, and feeling generally tired and unhappy. I took this movie out based only on the "Two Thumbs Up" recommendation of Siskel & Ebert at the bottom of the case. After viewing this film, I felt energized and full of good humor. I eventually bought it and have shared it with my mom, sister, kids, friends, and new husband. They all loved it! Where do I start? 1. The performances. Everyone in this movie is wonderful. They are believable and credible even though the material is completely over the top so much of the time. I love these people. 2. Then there's the romance. The main love story is very sweet, but all throughout the film, you feel like romance is literally in the air. It's also amazing how much sensuality is conveyed without any overt sexuality. 3. The dancing. I never gave ballroom dancing a thought until I saw this movie. Now, I love watching it. 4. The family relationships. They may seem unbelievable, but that mother is all too familiar to me. 5. Paul Mercurio--he's hot! Enough said.This movie is funny, touching, and like nothing I've ever seen before or since. I can't even compare it to anything else. I'm happy to see how favorably other people have reviewed it."
"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived"
wpmld | 03/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of good movies come out of Austrailia, & this is one of my favorites. An unlikely couple upset the comfortable (& lucrative) applecart of the ballroom dancing establishment. Champion dancer Scott has been groomed from birth by his domineering mother to realize her vicarious dream of winning the Austrailian Pan-Pacific Championship. But Scott has become bored with being "strictly ballroom"--the wretched boy wants to 'dance his own steps!' Not only is this heresy, but a threat to the very livelihood of his teachers & 'mentors', retired champion dancers themselves. He's encouraged by ugly duckling novice dancer Fran, who wants to be his partner. Aided & abetted by Fran's Latin father & grandmother, the couple show the phoney world of ballroom dancing what 'Latin' dancing is all about--not glitz & formality--but passion & a feeling for the beat that comes straight from the heart. Love & rebellion are in the air, & the dancing is spectacular. Some wickedly funny & campy parody deal the stilted & controlling world of competition ballroom dancing a well-deserved kick in the teeth. (Anyone who watched in disbelief as Torvill & Dean were cheated out of their comeback bid for Olympic gold in ice dancing [the figure skating equivalent of ballroom dancing] by the same sort of stupid & arbitrary rules about 'steps' will chortle with glee.) But, more than anything, Strictly Ballroom is about having the courage to be yourself. As Scott's father (once a great & original dancer himself, now a sad & henpecked shadow of his former self) says to him: "Don't make the same mistake I did....a life lived in fear is a life half-lived." Truly uplifting to the spirit & heart!"
Can I bend your ear for a tic?
wpmld | 03/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe this movie completely escaped my attention during it's release in 1992. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it until about two years ago. However, after one viewing, it quickly became one of my favorites. The biggest plus, in my humble opinion, is the cast. Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice are wonderful leads. They both possess an intensity that makes for wonderful sparks between the two. I also love the fact that the character of Fran was not a dressed-down supermodel-type. Tara does a wonderful job of conveying Fran's determination but, at the same time, her self doubt. As her confidence and dancing ability evolves, so too does her appearance. It's such as gradual and completely believable transformation. It is wonderful to watch Scott's feelings for her also change. The supporting cast is top-notch too. Pat Thompson was magnificent as Scott's overbearing mother. She could sometimes border on viscous but, at the same time, remain somewhat sympathetic.Now for the DVD itself. I may get raked for this but, as OK as it was, it could have been better. During the commentary by O'Connol, Martin, and Luhrman, Ms. Martin referred to some scenes that had to be cut before the release of the movie. I would loved it if they would have included deleted scenes on this DVD edition but they didn't. And, speaking of the commentary, I really didn't find it too enlightening. Well, let me put it this way, if you're watching it to get a background on ballroom, and other types, of dancing - then this is the commentary for you. However, if you're like me and want lots of interesting tidbits on cast, crucial scenes, etc., you'll only find them sparsely placed in between long stories about ballroom training, the history of the Paso Doble, and descriptions of sets. Even Baz, at one point, had to proclaim it was time to get back to commenting on the movie. Lastly, since I didn't see the movie during its original release, I would have loved it if they included its original theatrical trailer but it was not to be.Nevertheless, even if this DVD were to come only equipped with the movie itself, it would be a bargain at whatever price it was offered. If you haven't seen it, watch it! If you're wondering if you should splurge on the DVD, despite my nitpicky complaints about the DVD edition, I'd encourage it."