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Critic's Pick

'Strictly Ballroom'

October 04, 1998|Kenneth Turan

A wised-up Australian homage to the musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, "Ballroom" manages to both update and honor the conventions of the genre. This combination of spoof and seriousness extends to the film's exotic setting, the world of competitive ballroom dancing, which is where director Baz Luhrmann made its acquaintance as a young boy. Points are given for how well you follow the rules, not how much originality you bring, a situation that dancer Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio, pictured) finds increasingly wearing. Then Fran (Tara Morice, pictured), with the temerity of a frog approaching a prince, tells Scott she believes in his steps and wants to help him dance them. It is the great pleasure of this 1992 hit that it turns its absolutely predictability into a virtue almost as an act of will (Bravo Saturday at 11 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.).

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