Breathtakingly gorgeous and dramatically compelling from the first few shots, this quasi-adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale has no parallel. Set primarily in the backstage world of professional ballet, the movie benefits from the extraordinary grace and precision of the multitudinous ballet dancers seen throughout, as well the inherent drama of ballet itself. In addition, the story of the overlapping pursuit of concurrent professional and personal bliss is universal and timeless, rooting the movie in a compelling middle ground of immediacy and timelessness. Lead Moira Shearer is perfectly cast here in a demanding role that requires both dancing and deep emotional depth, and she tackles it fearlessly. There’s nothing else quite like this.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)