Shall We Dance?

Miramax, the Indie studio that just took home 12 Oscars, including the prize for Best Foreign Language Film (Kolya), gets a leg up on next year's awards with this Japanese charmer about an accountant who takes dance lessons. Stifle those yawns. As gentle as the Aussie hit Strictly Ballroom was brash, Masayuki Suo's beguiling romance uses dance as a metaphor for those exhilarating first steps a repressed society takes toward free expression.

Shohei, the Tokyo work slave played by the excellent Koji Yakusho, is drawn to Mai (Tamiyo Kusakari), the young dance instructor he sees from his train on the ride home to his wife and daughter. In Mai's sad, lovely face, Shohei catches his own yearning. He risks falling on his face – on and off the dance floor – to get close to Mai. What he finds isn't love but a new way to fulfill forgotten dreams. Rich in humor and heart, Shall We Dance? is sweet magic.

From The Archives Issue 761: May 29, 1997