Take The Lead --- Antonio Banderas Takes Charge While Ballroom Dancing
Apr 10, 2006
Review by three_ster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:true story, uplifting, hip and exciting dance, great music, fun premise, Banderas
Cons:some might not like ending, could be considered slow in places
The Bottom Line: Take the Lead is an interesting look into a true story about a dance instructor taking over a class of high school students.
Misunderstood Teacher. Misfit Kids. The story has been told before, but not quite like this. With the flavor of Dangerous Minds and The Substitute, Take the Lead is a film where its students are asked to stand and deliver. One of the items that didn't get mentioned very often in my corner of the country, was that Take The Lead is actually based on a true story about a New York Teacher. The term teacher is actually a misnomer in describing this story though, because it conjectures thoughts of someone being an employee of the public or private education system. What the main character of this story is, is a dance instructor who volunteers at a local high school to try and make a difference in the lives of kids in the area. This jaunt into doing something great for his community came about when he witnessed an act of vagrancy from one of the local high school students, and thought he could show them a better way to deal with their aggression.
Recommend this product?
Antonio Banderas is the star cast in the role as Pierre Dulaine. Dulaine owns his own dance studio, where he appears to be an expert ballroom dance teacher. His clients are primarily from up-scale families, and the movie does its best to show that it doesn't matter what your background is when it comes to dancing. Showing up in the main office of the school principal, he wants to volunteer his time to make a difference in the lives of some of these kids. Of course with no experience in the education world, and no degree to show for it, he doesn't quite have the experience. Not only that, but there aren't really any openings for the arts at this particular school. As luck would have it, there has been a recent opening for someone to run the schools detention, and the principal takes this chance at free labor to fill that spot. Of course Dulaine isn't really told what he is getting into, yet it also doesn't really appear that he cares, because he is so into doing something, no matter what it is.
It goes without saying that Dulaine is put in charge of a group of troubled students. Around the school they have been nicknamed the school "rejects", but in these kids Dulaine sees something that they have long since forget: hope and opportunity. He takes it upon himself to show these kids that life is about choices, and that you can make something of yourself with the skills that he is going to teach them. The skills of ballroom dancing go beyond the dance steps involved, but incorporate a maturity and involvement that proves they can do well at something by dedicating the appropriate time to it. I also don't need to mention that the kids are resistant to this new dance teacher, but the name of the story is really the quest of the teacher to convince these kids that all they have to do with their own lives is "take the lead."
Though the heart of the story has been seen before, I don't really think there can be too many movies like this one. It's great that there are true stories out there like this one that can be brought to a new audience. Antonio Banderas does a great job of being the subtle teacher who wants more for his students than they have even realized they want yet. He shows off a lot of great dance moves, and fans of ballroom will be impressed with how the movie portrays a new flavor in the style. It was really interesting to see the new take on ballroom, and made me think just how much ballroom dancing has been infused in the current consciousness of America. An eclectic group of students end up stealing the show, as each of their back-stories is explored during the duration of the film. It actually does a better job of keeping us interested in them than a lot of other high school movies that would be called similar to this one.
In the role of the principal is Desperate Housewive's Alfre Woodard. She is perfect for the part of the principal, and does a great job of interacting with Banderas on screen. They both have the same goals for the students, but have extremely different approaches that are going to clash throughout the movie. It goes to show the audience that different methods don't always have to hit head on, but can actually work together to create an even better atmosphere. The story is interesting and is brought in a hip and upbeat way that keeps the audience dancing right along with the kids in the film. It is these kinds of films that are great for people to see, because it can give hope where no hope existed prior to the viewing. If you are into seeing films about high school students fighting to find a place in society, and a teacher standing up for his students, this is going to be an interesting film to you. Banderas is very good in his role, and the soundtrack adds to the great dance moves being shown. High school students will really enjoy this film, and it is one that I recommend.
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