Those Fabulous Fossils
Overly ambitious but completely charming, Ballet Shoes tells the story of three remarkable young orphans who vow to do great things with their lives. Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige and Lucy Boynton made my heart smile with their convincing portrayals of the fabulous Fossil sisters. While not biological relatives, the characters they play form a strong bond after being rescued by a famous British archaeologist.
While watching Ballet Shoes, I felt like a time machine had transported me to London in the 1930s. Realistic period costumes, sets and music set the stage for the film’s humanistic story. How I loved hearing oldie but goodies like “The Very Thought of You” and watching tap dancing scenes, no matter how brief!
Show biz assumes an important role in this movie; it’s the vehicle that offers opportunities for Pauline (Watson), Petrova (Paige) and Posy (Boynton) to help their guardian (Emilia Fox) after the disappearance of their benefactor (Richard Griffiths). Two of the sisters take to the stage like they were born to be stars. Pauline wants to be an actress, and Posy thinks she’s destined for ballet, especially since two ballet slippers are the only things her mother left her. However, Petrova is a fish out of water when it comes to anything theatrical. Her particular talents shine in mechanical areas, and she dreams of becoming an aviator.
Although the Fossil girls face many trials and tribulations, their love for each other helps them get through difficult times. They also receive considerable support from their lovely guardian Sylvia, as well as from a devoted nanny (Victoria Wood), an elegant Russian ballet teacher (Eileen Atkins), and the caring boarders (Gemma Jones, Harriet Walker, Lucy Cohu, Marc Warren) taken in to assist in meeting expenses.
Because I enjoyed this movie so much, I hate to mention anything negative about it. Still, that’s my job, so here goes. Ballet Shoes would be much better as a mini-series. Each of the Fossil girls deserves more time spent on her particular part of the story. I also wanted to see musical numbers shown in their entirety instead of in snippets.
Still, this is a wonderful family film. I applaud Sandra Goldbacher’s (The Governess) sensitive direction as well as Heidi Thomas’s (I Capture the Castle) well-written adaptation of Noel Streatfield’s popular novel. It’s also a real treat to see the talented Emma Watson, Harry Potter’s Hermione, perform another key role so well.
(Released by Koch Entertainment and rated “PG” for smoking.)