probably a formula out there for sappy made-for-TV movies. Add one of
each of the following: spunky hero/heroine, tragic (but photogenic)
disease, loving family/friends, and not-too-horrible relationship
problem. Cast with fresh-faced, earnest unknowns, mix in a soundtrack
featuring sugary pop music, and voila! Instant tear-jerker. Even
though it got a minor theatrical release outside the U.S. before
coming to Showtime, A Time for Dancing fits firmly into this
genre, with its determinedly heart-warming tale of a young dancer
whose shining future is abruptly threatened by illness, and who is
forced to take stock of what really matters in her life.
The story is solidly predictable; while the description on the back
of the case tries to be cagey about the "unexpected news"
that derails dance student Jules' fast-track to admission to
Juilliard, there are sure to be few viewers who don't figure out
what's coming after the first of several hints that are about as
subtle as a two-by-four. The cast is peopled by basic warm bodies who
get through their lines as competently as can be expected,
considering the extremely hokey script. Peter Coyote gets front-cover
billing as the only "name" actor of any stripe in the film,
but he really has a minimal role in the film, with only brief screen
time as Jules' father.
Time for Dancing has one saving grace that will make it worth
watching for at least a segment of the audience, and that's the dance
sequences. While I'm no dance connoisseur, the rehearsal and
performance scenes here, of which there are plenty, look very
authentic; the filmmakers seem to have gotten genuine dancers to fill
in the secondary and "extras" spots in the film. So viewers
who are dancers, or who enjoy the world of dance, will probably find
some elements to their liking in the film, both in the dance segments
themselves and in the overall plot, as it deals mainly with Jules'
attempt to make it into Juilliard.
what I've written above, A Time for Dancing comes across as a
weak, generic piece of filmmaking... and that's true to a substantial
degree. This is pretty tame stuff. But to its credit, A Time for
Dancing is watchable. Except for the last seven minutes of the
film (which is hideously sappy and hopelessly cheesy... someone
should have forced the director to leave it on the cutting-room
floor, as it's also totally unnecessary), A Time for Dancing
has a sort of cheerful enthusiasm to it that makes it better than
many of its peers in the tearjerker-TV-movie category.
Time for Dancing appears in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio that I think is
the correct ratio, although I don't know that for a fact. In any
case, it doesn't show any obvious panning or cropping. The image
quality is so-so; the colors are slightly muted but generally
natural-looking, and the picture is fairly soft, with a moderate
amount of noise and edge enhancement.
The soundtrack comes in at a shade below average. During
dialogue-only scenes, the sound is a bit flat but otherwise
satisfactory, but whenever there's any music in the film (as there
often is, in any of the dance scenes), the volume rises too high, and
the sound becomes slightly muffled.
We get a photo gallery and an advertisement for an assortment of
dance-related magazines. That's it.
love dancing, then A Time for Dancing is probably worth a
rental on the basis of its subject matter. If you're just looking for
a movie on its own merits, it's a lot more debatable, as the film is
a pretty standard, sappy made-for-TV movie. Rent it.