Mao’s Last Dancer (2009)

Entertainment Rating: 4 of 5

This was a great movie. I haven’t been to any ballet’s that I’ve particularly liked, but this film made me want to find one that I can enjoy. The last on-stage ballet was a little weird, and is probably the reason why I have a bad view of the art, so I should stick to the classics. Back to the movie, it told an intriguing story of a young boy who was fortunate enough to be brought in to a prestigious ballet academy that eventually led to his “escape” from China and refuge in America, though at great personal costs. This is a good historical-drama, with very few subtitles.

Moral Rating: 4 of 5

[Spoiler Alert] While it’s sad that Li was put in a situation that pressured him into getting married, it’s even sadder that that marriage didn’t last. Both Li and Liz were able to find the happiness they were looking for, not realizing that. ultimately, the highest level of happiness can only be achieved in a family - not pursuing personal dreams (a contrasting message to the Adjustment Bureau - review forthcoming). While you wish they could have worked things out between them, the marriage was formed wrongly in the first place, so is it O.K. to let it fizzle and die? Or should they (in an ideal world) have stuck it out, no matter the impact on their personal dreams?

Regarding idealism, the following quote presents an worthwhile parable. From a message from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “We are bound to be in trouble if a shirt is made from a shirt that was made from a shirt. A mistake or two in the first product—inevitable without a pattern—gets repeated and exaggerated, intensified, more awkward, the more repetitions we make, until finally this thing we’re to wear to school just doesn’t fit. One sleeve’s too long. The other’s too short. One shoulder seam runs down [our] chest. The other runs down [our] back. And the front collar button fastens behind [our] neck.” Even though idealism may sound like something never worth going after, since we are incapable of making perfect decisions all the time, if we don’t attempt to align our lives to a perfect pattern we will always fall short.

While we can’t and shouldn’t judge Li (or anyone) for their choices (not completely understanding their rationale), but was it right for him to put his family in danger to pursue his dream and enjoy freedom here in the US? It all ended O.K., but how much should we worry about what repercussions our actions might have on those we love?

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