Banderas At His Handsomest.
It came to me as quite a surprise when I discovered that Antonio Banderas could actually act. I had thought of him as only a pretty face, someone that was used for his rugged Andalusian looks rather than his smart, effective manner.
Ever since discovering that the man can dance and sing, I've been much more interested.
So last night I made a point of watching Take The Lead, a movie based upon the life of a ballroom dance teacher by the name of Pierre Dulaine.
I recognised the plot immediately - teacher gets involved with inner-city youth, forces them to slow down and look at themselves, and enters them in big competition at the end.
What was so surprising was the chemistry between Banderas and Alfre Woodard, who played the school principal. They acted magnificently off each other.
Another thing about this movie was that Banderas has visibly aged. He has the look of a man who may have seen hard times, a man who has attained maturity, a slick but cultured man. All the qualities that he brought to his character appeared to be genuine. He was a delight to watch, especially during the few comedic moments in the film where he shone like the sun. Plus, he was terribly funny. Anyway, if you can deal with the usual Fame school atmosphere and just sit back and enjoy the music and dance, it turns out to be a very nice film. But by far, the best thing about it was Antonio Banderas' portrayal. I wish we had been allowed to see more of the teacher's life, but alas, since we were supposed to see this teacher from the eyes of a student, his history was lost to us. Yes, this film could have dwelt more upon the man and less upon the harrowing lives of his students, charming as the story turned out.
I give it a 7 out of 10 for overall watch-ability and a 10 out of 10 just for Banderas. A fine one for kids 12 and older.