Road Rash Reviews

The Red Shoes: Next Step Review****-

Cert PG | 111 mins | 2023

4 star beautifully choreographed coming-of-age dance drama.

The Red Shoes: Next Step is a 2023 Australian family drama film directed by Joanna Samuel (The Legend of the Five) and Jesse Ahern, who makes his directorial feature debut with this refreshing ballet story.

It is releasing in UK cinemas on 25th August 2023 courtesy of Dazzler Media.

“No, I won’t dance. It’s not gonna happen. I can’t, not without Annie.”

Sam (Juliet Doherty – High Strung Free Dance, Driven to Dance) is a talented young ballet understudy preparing to take the lead in a  production of The Red Shoes on behalf of her beloved older sister Annie (Daniele Clements – 1 for All). As she waits in the wings, a video call takes a tragic turn and she is unable to take to the stage.

Following that tragic night, she leaves the dance company, unable to face dancing any more. Six months later, caught in a spiral of bad behaviour with best friend Eve (Lauren EspositoThe Conjuring 2, Swimming for Gold), the pair are caught shop lifting and sentenced to community service picking up garbage.

To spare her this indignity and try to get her back onto the straight and narrow, her mother Jennifer (Laura New – Everything You Are) insists she return the the Harlow Dance Academy to finish her studies under the watchful eye of Miss Harlow (Carolyn Bock – Some Happy Day, La Brea). Not allowed to dance unless she boards, she is tasked with routine cleaning while she completes her schooling.

The company are again attempting to perform the Red Shoes which was cut short the previous year, and when the lead in the show Gracie (Primrose Kern) is injured Sam is made to step in to help train understudy Paige (Mietta White – Conspiracy 365) to take the role. With the help of fellow dancer Ben (Joel Burke) can she find herself and regain her passion for dance?

“You do have a choice Samantha. You either go in there, clean mirrors, mop floors and be true to you, the girl i Know and raised, or you can wait till I’m gone, pick up garbage with Eve, rob stores and get yourself thrown in jail.”

The Red Shoes: Next Step is a very enjoyable watch, which has unashamedly allows itself to be what it is, a fantastically choreographed ballet film. The dancing takes centre stage and is wonderful to watch and very uplifting.

What also stands out is the acting performances, excellent especially from a group of relative newcomers. It’s a well written and well paced story, which manages to include elements from various genres, coming-of-age, romance, drama and dance, and melding them together into a coherent and emotional experience.

Although the story is a little unrealistic in places, it really doesn’t detract from the enjoyment and this one is well worth a trip to your local cinema.

“One step at a time. First, can you still dance? You already know the answer to that. But you have to decide if this is what you really want.”

Dazzler Media presents The Red Shoes: Next Step in cinemas from 25 August 

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DirectorJesse Ahern, Joanne Samuel
GenreFamily, drama, romance
StarringJuliet Doherty, Lauren Esposito, Carolyn Bock, Joel Burke, Primrose Kern
Category: Cinema, film, Review