MARILYN HOTCHKISS’ BALLROOM DANCING & CHARM SCHOOL (2005)
Most films are flawed, but even ones with a dance floor full of stereotypical characters and plot holesâ€”like MHBD&CSâ€”can still show off some good moves. Frank Keane is a baker with burdens, including the recent death of his wife and chancing upon a road accident that thrusts him into anotherâ€™s life . . . and death. As far as stereotypes go, Keane attends a widowerâ€™s support group (with predictable fellow grievers) and risks joining a dance group (with predictable dance partners). But I liked Keane (Robert Carlyle) and was thankful heâ€™d â€œaccidentallyâ€ run into John Goodmanâ€™s dying Steve Mills. It is because of Mills that Keane ends up at Marilyn Hotchkissâ€™ dance studio. Before dying, Mills got Keane to keep a long-ago promise made to Lisa, Millsâ€™ 1960s junior high â€œcrush.â€ Meeting Mills also causes Keaneâ€”and perhaps you and meâ€”to wonder about the choices we make in life. A moment that deeply touched me involved the grown-up Lisa. Played quietly by Camryn Manheim, the brief scene reinforced MHBD&CSâ€™s central question: what did you do with the choices you had?
Questions you are invited to use or ignore:
A question Iâ€™d ask you over a cup of coffee: How did you feel when the â€œadultâ€ Lisa closed the door and sat at her desk?
A question Iâ€™d ask to get a church group talking: What are some of the choices youâ€™ve make in your life that youâ€™re . . . proud of or regret or question or are still in flux?