I wanted to watch "A Very Long Engagement" tonight but it was no longer showing at SM Fairview. My mother and I decided to watch "Shall We Dance?" instead. As we came out of the movie house less than two hours later, we compared notes and agreed that we were both happily entertained by the film.
Out with the minuses first. The movie is not as evenly-paced as I want my last-full-shows to be. It started on a rather flat note, with Richard Gere's character narrating in a monotone and making me think like I could predict the movie's ending two minutes after the opening credits. Eventually, however, it was able to catch my full attention. I just wanted to ignore a scene that was a cross between a Broadway musical and a Disney cartoon.
A movie about a workaholic lawyer who wanted to search for his passion would eventually make me sit up straight anyway. I also love dance sequences on film. There is something about dancers on the silver screen that sends me dreaming. I must have watched "Strictly Ballroom" a thousand times with my sister Mel when we were younger. Anytime we felt bored, we put the tape in the VCR and watched the movie while saying all the characters' lines. We clapped so hard everytime the pasa doble scene came. We discovered Baz Luhrmann even before he did "Romeo and Juliet" with Leonardo! As long as there is dancing in a movie, I would consider watching it. I have always learned profound lessons in life from "dance films".
Shall We Dance is a must-see for married couples. It's largely about the choices that people make when their successful lives get routinary. John Clark (played by Gere) had a charming family and a successful career, yet it was only when he took up dancing that he found himself. I honor his character for the choice that he made in the end, which should serve as an example to all married men. Wives could encourage their husbands to watch the film by using Jennifer Lopez as a must-see. I wond how she could afford her designer outfits and flawless makeup with an assistant dance instructor's salary, but apparently we should overlook those details because this movie is making a larger-than-life picture of passions and dreams. A beautiful woman is part of every man's dream, I would reckon. The film may have J. Lo's best assets to boast about, but Susan Sarandon's performance as the perfect wife who did not know what hit her marriage gets my two thumbs up. Best supporting nods go to the detective and his wise assistant! Actually the more I think about it, the more I realize how fond I now am of each character in the film. They remind me of all my classmates in the dance school that is life.
They don't make dance studios like that anymore. At least not on my part of the globe. It was only in law school and Lingkod that I learned to dance confidently. Although it is not my ultimate passion (it is some other lawyer's, one who's very close to me), dancing, like Paris, is always a good idea for me.
Maybe, like Richard Gere's character, I should let Jennifer Lopez' figure inspire me to take up dancing more seriously. It sure broke the monotony of his life as a lawyer. In a Hollywood moment, he held a red rose in his hand and declared, "A dance needs a partner. And my partner is here." I think my mom's tear fell during that scene.
Passion can be tempered, as the movie taught us. It can be channeled to a more productive endeavor. Shall I dance then? I ask myself. Given the right studio, teacher, and of course, partner, why not?