Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Feel the Beat (2020)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Feel the Beat (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Length: 109 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Production/Distribution: Resonate Entertainment, Bitter Boy Productions Ltd., Deluxe, Netflix
Director: Elissa Down
Writer: Michael Armbruster, Shawn Ku
Actors: Sofia Carson, Pamela MacDonald, Brandon Kyle Goodman, Rex Lee, Enrico Colantoni, Dennis Andres, Drew Davis, Christopher Jones, Donna Lynne Champlin, Merle Newell, Kai Zen, Wolfgang Novogratz, Eva Hauge, Carina Battrick, Lidya Jewett, Justin Caruso Allan, Shiloh Nelson, Shaylee Mansfield, Sadie Lapidus, Johanna Col√≥n, Dan Lett, Pat Thornton, Jonathan Breedon, Amy Stewart, Marcia Bennett, Robinne Fanfair, Ken Pak, Ana Maria Mallinos, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Aniko Kaszas

Blurb from IMDb: After failing to find success on Broadway, April returns to her hometown and reluctantly is recruited to train a misfit group of young dancers for a big competition.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m a little on the fence with this one.

The climax of the film was cute, and the kid characters really forced me to smile – as did a few of the supporting actors. In fact, there were a lot of scenes in the film that made that happen. Adorable kids are bound to do that, especially when they’re beating the odds at something or kicking a football player’s ass at push-ups. The problem was the rest of the film.

Feel the Beat was formulaic, to say the least. If you’ve ever seen a dance film before in your life, you know exactly what the ending is going to be. That’s not entirely a problem – provided you WANT to see the main character win.

I didn’t. Not at all. I, at no point in the film, wanted to see the main character succeed. At anything.

It never felt like she made up for anything. At the end, she’s still a selfish person. Anything she does is based on what she feels and not anyone else. There’s no REAL arc that makes me believe she’ll be a changed person going forward.

Honestly, I would have given this flick SO much more credit if it had just gone with a different ending. Something that resembled anything that looked like she actually sacrificed anything for anyone else.

I love dance films. I remember being a kid in dance class, and this movie felt all kinds of nostalgic to me because of it. The actors all did exactly what was expected of them and played their characters well, but the main character was just very poorly written.

There are better dance films streaming on various sites. I don’t feel like this is the one I would recommend.

Cat’s Point of View:
Do you know that saying that when it rains, it pours? I am feeling that right now. Between things going on in my life and that of friends and family, it just seems to be a deluge. I can’t tell you how much I needed something light and positive like Feel the Beat. I’m guessing, with the current global situation, that I’m not in the least bit alone.

So, let’s get this out of the way: it’s not a phenomenally original film. The dance competition and home-town-girl-makes-good recipes are old staples. Almost every bit of the story was predictable. There were a few little bits here and there that surprised me or stood out. That being said, what did stand out was really special.

A couple of the wonderful tidbits would be spoilers, unfortunately, so I can’t mention them. That doesn’t stop me from sharing the others with you, though! I loved the diversity of the young dancers from the movie’s town of New Hope. The group was incredibly divers and everyone had a chance to dance and shine. No one was shamed because they weren’t the ‘perfect ballerina image.’ These young dancers clearly worked hard for their roles and I really enjoyed the showcase their performances provided.

The casting for other primary roles was also amazing. We all know that Sofia Carson (Tini: The New Life of Violetta, Descendants: Wicked World, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists) can sing. That’s a talent that she’s exhibited repeatedly through her career, and especially during her involvement with Disney. That did not prepare me, however, for the breadth of her talent for more classical dance styles. I was blown away.

I also really enjoyed the hometown dance teacher played by Donna Lynne Champlin (Downsizing, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Good Fight). I’ve had a few special teachers in my life that have really inspired me or helped me far beyond what words could express. I love seeing roles exemplifying teachers in that way – all it takes is one person to really inspire you and it can lead someone to great things.

I have to come back around to the dancing, itself. The showpieces were well done – and one fairly moved me to misty eyes. Of course, I recognized that style and emotion evoked. Mia Michaels (Move TV, Rock of Ages, Step Up Revolution) was credited with the choreography for the film. She is absolutely phenomenal. If you have time, I would highly recommend looking up her work with So You Think You Can Dance (2005-) on YouTube. You won’t be sorry. I’ll probably be doing some of that, myself.

I really enjoyed this Netflix original. While it would have fit right in on Disney or another channel known for made-for-TV romance movies, I think the streaming giant played its cards right here. If you’re a fan of dance, or are looking for a good pick-me-up with heart, I’d definitely give this one a whirl.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 46%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%
Metascore – 50/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.5/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5 

Movie Trailer:

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