Ben Oliver

Now
Take
film

Take 2: The Red Shoes

The music is all that matters. Nothing but the music.
28 March 2020

Just astounding on every front. The impressionistic ballet centrepiece is a staggering work of art that chokes me up every time. Like a ballet partner the rest of the film lifts you up to it, and brings you down from it.

I always forget how supportive and genial Lermontov is. He seems standoffish and aggressive, but this veneer melts away when he sees Vicky’s talent at work (and to a lesser extent, Craster’s). He tolerates imperfection when he can see that the road ahead leads to great things, carefully avoiding all the cliches of a character like his. Of course things turn sour when it turns out he only has eyes for his art.

The endless struggle of art versus life, brought to screen in a spellbinding masterwork. Never ever gets old.