Take The Lead

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Inner city schoolkids’ lives are changed by charismatic teacher: yes, there’s more than a touch of ‘Dangerous Minds’ about this feelgood dance drama. Antonio Banderas plays Pierre Dulaine, the New York dance teacher whose work inspired the documentary ‘Mad Hot Ballroom’. But the liberties taken with Dulaine’s story undermine the film’s true-life basis and push it towards cliché. The naive adolescents of ‘Mad Hot…’ are replaced by surly teenagers more interested in hip-hop than the cha-cha, but with a need for emotional rescue by a kindly Hispanic ballroom dancer. Still, while their transformation is predictable, it’s quietly enjoyable, and the teen angle opens the door to romance and gritty gang-war subplots. Banderas has charm, but the ‘Fame’-like pupils suffer in comparison to their characterful real-life counterparts.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday April 14 2006
Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Liz Friedlander
Screenwriter: Dianne Houston
Cast: Antonio Banderas
Rob Brown
Yaya DaCosta
Alfre Woodard
John Ortiz
Laura Benanti
Dante Basco
Jenna Dewan
Marcus T Paulk
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