There's no use in approaching any form of art waiting for a message or, even worse, a moral lesson.
Nevertheless, there are many pieces with clear proposals that always leave you something to think about.
While watching animated films, we can see that most of these works aimed at a younger audience have messages like "the sky is the limit," "if you wish hard enough, your dreams will come true," "you'll find love at first sight," and "someone will always help you." You get the point, but these films fail to express that the most important thing in the process of achieving your dreams is how you manage to do that. You have to work hard and overcome many obstacles to get what you want. That's precisely the amazing twist that Ballerina (2016) proposes. The French-Canadian coproduction, directed by Eric Summer and Eric Warin, portrays the efforts needed to succeed.
In this animated masterpiece, music and dance play a very important role. That's why the production called composer Klaus Badelt (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and choreographers Aurelie Dupont and Jeremie Belingrad –important figures of the Paris Opera Ballet– to create this story.
Set in the nineteenth century, the film tells the story of Félicie Milliner (Elle Fanning), an orphan girl who lives in a rural town in Brittany and dreams to become a ballet dancer. This leads her to escape the orphanage with her friend Víctor (Dane DeHaan) and go to Paris to follow her dreams. The movie puts a lot of emphasis on discipline, sacrifices, and, of course, on the things you have to leave behind to pursue your goals. It also shows the intense hard work that dance and music demand. There are no shortcuts to success, and there are multiple obstacles in the road, but it all depends on one's will to go on.
At the beginning, Paris welcomes Félicie and Víctor with hostility. Each one shares their own experience, Félicie as a ballerina and Víctor as an inventor, emphasizing how hard it is to achieve their goals. But they soon realize that the key is to accept humans as imperfect beings who make mistakes. The lesson is that people have to be constantly tested to become better, to learn, and practice before actually achieving their aim.
This animation uses many of the techniques used by Disney and Pixar, but in its depiction of 19th-century Paris –its streets, squares, and its weather– you can notice a more European style and a particular aesthetic. Quad Productions, Caramel Film, and Main Journey's aim is to guarantee a unique experience and an entertaining alternative to younger audiences. It's definitely a great movie to enjoy and to remember that it's ok to make mistakes; what matters is that you learn from them and use them to forge your goals, and of course, to keep moving while having fun in the process.
Ballerina will leave you something to think about, but you can also check these beautiful animated movies.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards