Entertainment Magazine

TAKE THE LEAD

Synopsis
(Release Date: 2006)
Director: Liz Friedlander
Starring: Antonio Banderas and Alfre Woodard

Inspired by a true story, Antonio Banderas stars as internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane in the family drama Take The Lead.

The film revolves around a professional dancer who volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. But when his classic methods clash with his students’ hip hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance and becomes their mentor in the process.

Take The Lead co-stars Alfre Woodard and marks the feature directing debut of veteran music video helmer Liz Friedlander (U2, Blink 182, Simple Plan).

To Dance or Not To Dance

Review by Madelyn Ritrosky

Think films like Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver, or Music of the Heart.
Those are films that are based on true stories about inspirational and
unconventional teachers (or principals) making a difference in the lives
of inner city kids. Then also think Dirty Dancing or Flashdance, films
where would-be dancers struggle to attain "perfection" and ultimately
self-esteem in doing something they love.

Combine these ingredients and you get Take the Lead, a new film about a
dance teacher in New York City who inspires some kids who would
otherwise get left behind. It's based on the true story of Pierre
Dulaine, a professional ballroom dancer, who began teaching kids in an
inner city high school that they could tango and foxtrot their way to
purpose and direction in life. A credit at the end of the film informs
us that the dance program has since expanded throughout New York's
public schools, involving 1200 students.

New Line Cinema's Take the Lead is an enjoyable film, and if you warm to
upbeat messages like this, then this is a film for you. The plot is
simple, with Antonio Banderas's Dulaine (he's half French, half Spanish)
volunteering his time when he sees a way to contribute and, of course,
finally earning the detention kids' respect. Along the way, various
kids have to deal with various issues in their lives. There is plenty
of dance practice, and then the movie's climax is a big ballroom dance
competition.

For me, the soundtrack and editing stood out. The opening sequence,
with the opening credits, caught my attention from the first shot with
lots of match-on-action crosscuts between different people getting ready
for dancing. Cut to the beat of energetic dance music, socioeconomic
differences as well as the differing types of dancing they are
anticipating are made clear.

It is not surprising to learn that director Liz Friedlander, in her
feature film debut, has an established career as a director of music
videos. The screenwriter is also a woman, Dianne Houston, and she has
numerous TV writing and directing credits to her name as well as an
Oscar-nominated short film.

Take the Lead will be in theaters Friday, April 7, 2006.

Antonio Banderas as “Pierre” during one of the detention dance lessons in New Line Cinema’s family drama TAKE THE LEAD.
Photo Credit: ©2005 Kerry Hayes/New Line Productions

(left to right) Rob Brown as “Rock”, Yaya DaCosta as “Larhette” and Antonio Banderas as “Pierre”in New Line Cinema’s family drama TAKE THE LEAD.
Photo Credit: ©2005 Kerry Hayes/New Line Productions

Antonio Banderas as “Pierre”and Anna Dimitrie Melamed as Pierre’s dance partner in New Line Cinema’s family drama TAKE THE LEAD.
Photo Credit: ©2005 Kerry Hayes/New Line Productions

(left to right) Markus T. Paulk as “Eddie” and Antonio Banderas as “Pierre” in New Line Cinema’s family drama TAKE THE LEAD.
Photo Credit: ©2005 Kerry Hayes/New Line Productions

(left to right) Rob Brown as “Rock”, Antonio Banderas as “Pierre”, Yaya DaCosta as “Larette”and Elijah Kelley as “Danjou” in New Line Cinema’s family drama TAKE THE LEAD.

Film Home

Entertainment Magazine

2005 Entertainment Magazine / EMOL.org