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Leap! Movie Review

Reviewed by on Aug 25, 2017
Rating: 4 Star Rating

A tween orphan dreams of being a star ballerina in Leap!. Is her dream too big? Will she have to lie to enter an exclusive ballet school in Paris? Should she? Check our review!

By: Lynn Barker

In Leap!, Félicie Milliner (voice of Elle Fanning) is an 11-year-old, impoverished orphan in Britain with big dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. Her best buddy Victor (Nat Wolff) is a budding inventor. They run away from their orphanage to Paris to chase their dreams. Fat chance, right? Well, maybe if you want your dream enough….

Félicie in Paris with VictorFélicie in Paris with VictorCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Escape to Dreamland

It’s the 1880’s and 11-year-old tween Félicie whose mom had to leave her on orphanage steps when she was a baby, dreams of becoming a famous ballerina. She has amazing natural talent but no formal training. Her BFF, Victor is a talented young inventor. The pals escape to Paris to follow their dreams but they soon become separated, and Victor becomes an office boy in Gustave Eiffel's workshop. He is busy building the famous Eiffel Tower.

Victor and Félicie in front of partially-complete Eiffel TowerVictor and Félicie in front of partially-complete Eiffel TowerCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Ballet School

Félicie locates the famous school of the Paris Opera Ballet, where the guard catches her trespassing. She is rescued by a mysterious cleaner with a limp, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), who agrees to let Félicie stay with her and help her for now. Odette cleans at the ballet and also works for Régine Le Haut (Kate McKinnon), a Cruella-type, mean and wealthy restaurant owner. While at the Le Haut mansion, Félicie sees Regine's daughter, Camille (Maddie Ziegler), practicing ballet. She’s good if angry-looking. Camille insults Felicie and throws Félicie's beloved music box (all she has from her mom) out of the window, breaking it.

Victor is introduced to OdetteVictor is introduced to OdetteCourtesy of The Weinstein Company


As Félicie reunites with Victor, she gives the music box to him for repair and intercepts the postman who brings a letter from the Opera admitting Camille to the ballet school. Angry at Camille, she takes the letter and decides to assume Camille's identity to fulfill her dream and get back at the snooty, mean girl. Odette, who knows a lot about dance, will teach Felicie so she can catch up with the class. The training is hard but Felicie improves. Mérante (Terrence Scammell), the school's exacting choreographer/ballet master, announces that one of the girls from the class will be chosen to dance the part of Clara in “The Nutcracker”.

The demanding Mérante and his ballet classThe demanding Mérante and his ballet classCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Countdown to Dream or Disaster

Merante dismisses the worst dancer in class each day. Félicie improves each day and narrowly avoids elimination, but a couple of days before the final elimination, her lie is discovered. Mérante decides to admit Camille into the class, while also letting Félicie stay but she must be good enough to win the role of Clara or leave. Felicie has met the school heartthrob Russian dancer Rudi, an older boy who flatters her. The night before the final elimination, she defies Odette and doesn’t train or rest in order to go out with Rudi. Of course Victor is jealous.

Félicie makes her impressive leap!Félicie makes her impressive leap!Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Finals and Beyond

The next day, Félicie is exhausted and unable to perform well and the part of Clara goes to haughty Camille. Her spirit crushed, Felicie returns to the orphanage but the Supervisor there M. Luteau (Mel Brooks) sees her talent and sadness and takes her to Paris on his motorbike. She can at least help Odette and apologize to Victor. While cleaning the stage, Félicie encounters Camille, and they go at it in a dance battle that is witnessed by all the students, Odette and Mérante. Felicie is amazing. She dances with passion where Camille does not. Even Camille thinks so. Will it be Felicie who dances Clara? Will Victor accept her apology? Will the evil Madame Le Haut finally block Felicie from her dream?

The evil Madame Le Haut and daughter CamilleThe evil Madame Le Haut and daughter CamilleCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Wrapping Up

Leap! Called Ballerina in Europe where it opened last year, is beautifully-animated. The dance sequences, based upon the moves of real dancers, are amazing to watch. The idea of an 1880’s Paris where the Eiffel Tower is still being built as is the Statue of Liberty which hasn’t been shipped to the USA yet, is a nice touch (if not historically accurate).

Félicie in the orphanage belltower dreaming of danceFélicie in the orphanage belltower dreaming of danceCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

All the voice actors really get into their roles, especially the ever wonderful Kate McKinnon as the evil Madame Le Haut. There are the expected classical tunes to match the dancing but the film sort of pulls you out of its setting and era with songs by Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen and Sia. But, hey, you will probably like them.

Félicie on stage. Is it a dream?Félicie on stage. Is it a dream?Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Leap! Is like an underdog sports movie…kind of Cinderella meets The Karate Kid by way of Flashdance.  There are no surprises in the film really (who didn’t figure out that limping Odette was once a great dancer?) but the story is told with heart and you do root for the characters. The Victor side-story isn’t that well-developed but it is Felicie’s tale, not his.  I kind of feel weird about Felicie only being age 11 and on a date with an older boy while one about her age is in love with her. Couldn’t she be 14 or 15? She is also dancing in a bar with a quick throwaway line saying “Did anybody check her I.D?”

Mr. Luteau takes Félicie back to ParisMr. Luteau takes Félicie back to ParisCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

With no big Disney•Pixar animated movies coming out right now, Leap! Will certainly entertain you enough, especially if you have a big dream and root for others who do as well. We can go four stars.

Leap! Movie Rating: 4

Leap! Movie PosterLeap! Movie PosterCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

See Leap! In theaters now!


Have Your Say

Are you into the world of dance? Do you have a dream that you would do anything to achieve? Share it in a comment below!