Strictly Ballroom

Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice

Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
February 12, 1993

Here's another Australian gem fresh off the film-festival circuit. But this one's an anomaly: an art-house crowd pleaser. Tyro director Baz Luhrmann whips up an entrancing entertainment by lifting clichés out of every musical from 42nd Street to Dirty Dancing. Will maverick dancer Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) introduce new steps into a contest even though it's against the rules of old-fart judge Barry Fife (Bill Hunter)? You bet. Will Scott choose an experienced dance partner or go for Fran (Tara Morice) — a clumsy, mousy, four-eyed unknown — in the hope of turning her into Cinderella before the big championships? Stupid question. And will Scott and the transformed Fran win the top prize by doing the pasa doble, taught to them by Fran's Spanish father and grandmother? You'd have to be a movie illiterate to doubt it.

So if Strictly Ballroom offers nothing new, why bother? Because Luhrmann is a director with the style and snap to have these tired routines on their feet and kicking like a line of Rockettes. Because Mercurio and Morice are marvels of sensuality in motion and pretty hot even when they kick off their dancing shoes. And mostly because the whole movie brings back the exuberant fizz Hollywood musicals like Newsies have lost. Funny thing about Strictly Ballroom, you see every trick up its sleeve, and you still keep smiling.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »