Reviewed by: David Simpson
|Featuring:||Bruce Greenwood (Ben Stevenson), Kyle MacLachlan (Charles Foster), Joan Chen (Niang), Chi Cao (Li Cunxin—as an adult), Amanda Schull (Elizabeth Mackey), Shuangbao Wang (Dia), Chengwu Guo (Li Cunxin—as a teenager), Wen Bin Huang (Li Cunxin—as a child), Aden Young (Dilworth), Madeleine Eastoe (Lori), Camilla Vergotis (Mary McKendry), Penne Hackforth-Jones (Cynthia Dodds), Jack Thompson (Judge Woodrow Seals), See all »|
|Producer:||Celluloid Dreams, Ling Geng, Troy Lum, Sue MacKay, Jane Scott|
|Distributor:||The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
“Before you can fly you have to be free.”
Li Cunxin is a Chinese ballet dancer who arrives in the USA on a student exchange for three months. His arrival brings new experiences, not only culturally—with seeing America and the city of Houston, but also romantically, as he falls in love with Elizabeth Mackey, a fellow dancer. As his love increases for her and with his new surroundings, his wishes to stay are put in jeopardy by strict policies communicated by the Chinese Communist Party.
Li has to fight to hold on to the things that have impacted his life the most, but is conflicted by his family back in China, who not only could face discrimination and arrest by their son’s decisions, but also the possibility of never seeing their relative again. “Mao’s Last Dancer” depicts the story of the pressures facing this young dancer, his family, his friends, and the fight to hold on to his dreams.
As far as Hollywood goes, this is a very mild movie in terms of objectionable content. Apart from the occasional language or sensuality, it is clean and provides hard and clear moral questions that can be discussed between families. To understand the situation from which Li comes, Communist China, is a detailed and somewhat complex one, but many Chinese face these decisions every day. I felt it was solid and gave a good depiction.
In summary, this is a very easy movie to review and recommend. If you have any interest in dance, international politics, China and it’s history, or even if you enjoy a good movie, then I highly recommend this PG-rated film.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.