A lot of people might say that this movie is just a combination of all the most cliched and overused plot lines in the history of hollywood movies, aka rebellious teen with messed up parents, dancing underdogs winning some competition, new hot kid at school, loss of loved one to military war story etc. But I’m just going to leave that part for the critics to gnaw on, and instead focus on other aspects of this movie.
I don’t really know how they did it, but somehow it worked for me. It didn’t seem too forced together, and it really just followed the journey of this guy. I like the way they portrayed the main male character’s father who abandoned him before he was born. You could tell throughout the film that the father was indeed trying to get closer to his son and felt sorry for not being there in his life before. Instead of the usual “why can’t you let me in?” emotional reaction or the “do whatever you want, i don’t give a heck because i’m a cool parent.” attitude, the father managed to have a good balance of both. You could tell he felt guilty for not being there as a Dad for him so he didn’t take on a presumptuous attitude and attempt to dictate how his son should live his life. He gave him space yet showed him that he cared and would be there for him anytime he was ready to let him in. Not sure if this was realistic enough, but I really like how the author managed to develop this relationship.
One thing I didn’t really like was the last dance scene. The choreography, the music, the sound effects. I know they were trying to make a tribute to all the loved ones the town has lost to war, but I feel like it would have evoked the psychological trauma the survivors of the war had suffered after the war. The idea of it was good, but the way it was executed seemed lacking and insensitive. I felt like if I was one of the audience and I would have felt horrified, burst into tears and immediately got up to leave. It was especially so with the helicopter noises, gun shots, and bomb explosion sound effects. I almost expected the girl’s mum and that counsellor to leave the place straight away while feeling traumatised. The only way I could convince myself that the performance was alright was reminding myself that the dancers were probably all people who had suffered these losses of their loved ones too.
Aside from all this, I did enjoy the movie. After all, any movie with good music, good dancing, good-looking leads, and a nice sappy love story can easily satisfy a girl like me.