I first read about Ballet Shoes at Princess Skye’s “Lost Princess” blog. The post made me curious as every girl who commented seemed to know the book, and I didn’t. Well, Ballet Shoes is not very famous here in Germany, to be honest, it is pretty unknown at all. So I ordered it, read it and fell in love.
For those who don’t know the story, here’s a summary:
Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil are three (adopted-under-various-circumstances) sisters with quite different talents, dreams and hopes. While Pauline wants to be an actress on stage, Petrova is more into engines, planes and cars and Posy is indeed destined to become a dancer as she was brought into the Fossil’s home with some of her real mother’s (a dancer who had no time for her child) ballet shoes. The story accompanies them during a part of their individual progresses in an early 1930s London.
As always there is the question of which character one likes most. I think it’s Pauline for me – she is the one to develop the most due to her stupid behaviour during her first theatre engagement. I also like Petrova very much, but I just can’t get myself to like Posy and it is still incomprehensible to me why she got no lesson to learn. Talent is no excuse for behaving spoiled rotten and not very social against others at all. Well, I just hope that, as every story continues after the book has had its happy ending to me, she learnt that she is as a matter of fact not the only person on the planet, even more since her oldest sister gave up her dream so that Posy could attend a ballet school in Czechoslovakia. Not very princess-like, indeed. As Princess Skye mentioned in her post about Ballet Shoes, it seems that ballet steals away a part of your soul. Well then, no ballet for me, I’d rather like to keep my soul, thank you very much (and stay with ballroom dancing ^^).
But to quit the Posy issue again, back to the story!
Usually I don’t like based-on movies of children’s books that much. I complained while watching The Secret Garden and A Little Princess and I even refused to ever watch the Disney’s adaption of Alice in Wonderland to the present day as that’s the one that makes everyone think that Tweedledee and Tweedledum or Humpty or the Red Queen belong to Wonderland (they don’t. They live in the land behind the looking-glass. I can’t mention it enough.). But although the Ballet Shoes picture from 2007 held some alterations, I really liked it. I even liked it so much that I have watched it about four times until today (via Youtube as the film aired not in Germany, as far as I know, at least) and would not hesitate to recommend it!
The cast was pretty much perfect (I wish I were as pretty as Emma Watson in that picture), even if the actresses were a little to old for the girls portrayed in the book, but it did no harm to the story. The one I loved most in the entire picture was Garnie, the Guardian. Portrayed by the lovely Emilia Fox, romantically involved with the stunningly not-creepy Marc Warren (also an alteration, but a very cute and fitting one), she showed her not-so-easy life that is not that much illustrated in the original story – imagine raising three pretty different girls with pretty high ambitions nearly without money and running some boarders’ rooms at a time while fighting serious breathing problems – to the audience.
It’s beautifully shot and very sensitive against the whole styling and requisites to fit in the 1930. Gum’s office and palaeontological collection even inspired my GRIMM character’s home.
I reached the conclusion that both, the book and *gasp* the film, are truly worth a look or two.
Or even three.