Movie Review: Sugar Plum Twist (2021)

Synopsis: Former ballerina Natalia Haddad has started a new career working as a choreographer at her hometown's professional dance company but is growing frustrated by her ideas not being heard and the lack of interest in making her the lead choreographer for the upcoming production of The Nutcracker. When Natalia meets a local dancer, Vivi Serrano, she is inspired to help Vivi by infusing traditonal ballet with the woman's Latin background. However, her side project may end up costing Natalia her job.

Who's in it? The movie stars Jamie Gray Harder, Laura Rosguer, Jesmille Darbouze, Rachel DeBenedet and Nicolas Dromard.

Review: While picking out our next Christmas movie this past weekend, I wound up choosing this film mostly because it sounded a bit different than the other movies we had been watching. There were times when I had some doubts, at least early on in the film, but it turned out to be an enjoyable movie.

One of the things I really liked about this film was how it decided to make the main plot the focus without spending a great deal of time distracting the viewer with yet another predictable love story. Yes, Natalia (Harder) and Vivi (Rosguer) had boyfriends but, other than one short-lived dramatic scene, the men were mostly just background characters. In fact, I couldn't even tell you their names or who played them without looking it up (and, frankly, have I have no interest in doing that).

This, in turn, allowed the main story to develop a lot more than I would expect in a film like this. Natalia and Vivi's friendship was believable as a result, as was the conflict that ultimately arises between Natalia and the dance company's head, Ms. Kat (DeBenedet). Things didn't feel rushed, as has been the case in plenty of movies we've watched this year.

I also liked how the movie suggests a fresh perspective without necessarily disrespecting the more traditional approach to The Nutcracker. After all, as the movie itself states, that ballet has worked in its present form since 1892. New doesn't necessarily mean better.

The end of the movie was a bit predictable, despite plenty of effort to keep it a secret. However, I did still enjoy watching it, especially since it ultimately gives the viewer an opportunity to compare Vivi's modernized Sugar Plum Fairy with the more-traditional version (once again, justifying the argument for both). At minimum, it was good enough not to ruin an otherwise good movie.

Final Opinion: This is a decent holiday film with a unique plot and I enjoyed watching it. In fact, it was probably one of my favorites this year.

My Grade: A


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