I’ve been a big Baz Luhrmann fan since Romeo + Juliet, and I fell even more in love with his style after Moulin Rouge!. So naturally I was excited when I heard about the re-release of Strictly Ballroom. Being Luhrmann’s first film, I looked forward to seeing the starting point for an evolution of unique style that Hollywood has not yet been able to clone.
Strictly Ballroom is Luhrmann at his best. While Australia (though visually stunning) let me down, Strictly Ballroom is exactly what you would expect from Luhrmann: stunning cinematography, beautiful costumes, and the perfect soundtrack.
The film centers around Scott Hastings (played by a very attractive Paul Mecurio) who is bored with traditional ballroom dancing. He wants to do something new, but finds it difficult to introduce this evolution of style to the sheltered world that is Austrailian ballroom dancing. The exceptionally trained dancer (it’s worth watching just to see this guy move!) finds himself forced to take on a new partner, Fran (Tara Morice) right before the Pan-Pacific ballroom championships. Fran intially seems hopeless, but is eager to learn. And of course you can guess what happens next. They start to fall in love.
The re-release of this title seems appropiate with all the interest in ballroom dancing. Dancing With The Stars continually pulls in high ratings and has brought a classic art form to the forefront of media attention. So the timing seems perfect. It’s also an inspiring film that audiences will find uplifting and energizing. Very similar to the way avid fans of Dancing With The Stars seem to be after an episode. While I haven’t watched that series, I have to say this film has me looking at ballroom dancing differently and possibly considering checking it out further.
Another thing I found interesting is how this movie feels like it could be a number of separate (strong) films, and with this film it works – whereas with Austrailia I felt like there were two very distinct storylines which didn’t mesh well together and didn’t feel strong enough to be films on their own. I have to wonder if Luhrmann was inspired a bit by the storytelling of Strictly Ballroom when working Australia. I only wish it had worked so well as his first film.
The special feature also includes a number of special features unique to this release including audio commentary, Samba To Slow Fox Dance Featurette, Strictly Ballroom: From Stage To Screen, a deleted scene, and more. If you’re a fan of Luhrmann’s previous work or a fan of ballroom dancing, then chances are you’ll enjoy this title.
Review By: Emma Loggins
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