Trisha’s Take: Mao’s Last Dancer review

Mao’s Last Dancer

Directed by Bruce Berensford
Starring Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Amanda Schull, Joan Chen and more
Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language and incidental smoking

There’s an art involved in adapting a book into a movie. Stray too much from the source material and you run the risk of alienating the audience who already knows the story. At the same time, if you stick too closely to the book’s conventions you may not attract enough of an audience who wouldn’t normally be interested in the original work.

And if the book is based on true events, and is an autobiography to boot? All bets are off.

The plot of Mao’s Last Dancer is based on the autobiography by Chinese-born ballet dancer Li Cunxin, who following in the footsteps of such artists as Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, defected to the U.S. in 1981. However, the story of the movie begins in medias res, with a 20-year old Li stepping foot onto American soil at the beginning of a student exchange program which places him deep in the heart of Texas, with the Houston Ballet. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: Mao’s Last Dancer review”