16 August 2010

Ballet Shoes (starring Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige and Lucy Boynton)

I have always loved the book ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfeild, and have read it many times, as both a child and an adult. So I was a little reluctant to see a film based on the story, as they can often be disappointing.

However, several people recommended the 2007 version, which was made for TV, so I thought it might be fun to add it to our collection. I was a little surprised and somewhat disappointed to find that the entire film is less than 90 minutes long; the advantage of TV adaptations of books is that they are often episodic, and can thus stick more closely to the storyline than can a film made for the cinema.

The well-known story of 'Ballet Shoes' is that of three adopted sisters who are determined to make their mark on the world: Pauline (Emma Watson) wants to be an actress, Petrova (Yasmin Paige) longs to be a pilot, and Posy (Lucy Boynton), who was found with some ballet shoes as a baby, is determined to be a dancer.

Emma Watson is best known as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, but played the eldest of the Fossil children convincingly. There were other well-known faces in this film, including Victoria Wood who, I felt, was not entirely convincing as Nana.

Although, inevitably, a fair amount of the book was condensed or cut out, the storyline mostly stuck to that of the book. The three adopted sisters were very good, with Posy outstanding as a promising ballet dancer. I didn't really like the character of Winifred, who (from memory, anyway) was a great deal nicer in the book, and I was not at all impressed by a light romance being thrown in at the end – decidedly NOT in the book! However, that kind of thing appears to be compulsory, even in children’s films these days.

On the whole, I thought it was well worth watching for a light evening’s entertainment; the PG ratings, rather than U, are - I assume - just because of some smoking in the film, which although unfortunate was entirely appropriate, given the era. The sets and atmosphere of London in the 1940s were very realistic and it could be a good way of introducing children to the many excellent books by Noel Streatfield.

Rated PG in both the UK and USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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