Movie Review: The Weinstein Company's Leap!

Director:  Eric Summer
Writers:  Eric Summer
Starring:  Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Carly Rae Jepsen
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11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff) an imaginative, but exhausting boy with a passion for creating has a dream of his own, to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But – there’s a catch, Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris. And with no professional dance training, she quickly learns that talent alone is not enough to overcome the ruthless, conniving attitudes of her fellow classmates, led by the devious Camille Le Haut (Maddie Ziegler). Determined to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor in the tough and mysterious school custodian, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) who, along with Victor’s encouraging friendship, help her reach for the stars.

“Life’s greatest adventures begin with a single… leap!” That is the tag line for this week’s film, Leap! What a great tag line. The tag line is hopeful, inquisitive, and positive, just like the movie. Leap! opens this weekend.  Take the kids.  It’s a quirky good time with a positive message.

Best of all, Leap! is an endearing underdog story. I love underdog stories! Who doesn’t love to see a little guy persevere through obstacles?! The message of Leap! is the positive message that children should hear about working towards their dreams.  I appreciated that the story is conveyed through a period piece.  The story takes place in France, in the past. It feels a little like a fairy tale, but real enough that that this could be anyone’s story of determination.

The voice cast of Leap! reads like a who’s who of young Hollywood.  Elle Fanning (as Felicie), Nat Wolff (as Victor), Maddie Ziegler (as Camile) and Carly Rae Jepsen (as Odette) all bring great energy to their characters.  The youthful cast delivered an authentic and endearing touch to the film.

I brought my children to see Leap! and both (a boy and a girl) enjoyed it immensely.  The liked that the soundtrack was made up of some of their favorite contemporary hits.  My kids loved the climatic dance-off. Both identified with Felicie and Victor. And six years after her last dance class, my daughter asked if she could start taking classes again.  So, it must have made an impression.

All in all, Leap! is a good time.  It has a great message.  At just under ninety minutes long, I thought it was a nice bit of family time.  There is not much worth seeing at the theater during later August and early September.  But Leap! is a stand-out.  Take the family to see Leap! when it opens everywhere this weekend.

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