27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
"I've been living your dream, not mine",
This review is from: Ice Princess [DVD] (DVD)
One of the great attributes about Ice Princess, an uplifting fantasy about a sweet-natured teenager (Michelle Trachtenberg) who braves unapproachable odds to become a regionally qualifying figure skater, is that adolescent girls are finally portrayed in a positive light. For the most part, there is no nastiness, spite, or mean spiritedness here, just affable, friendly, and like-minded girls who are intent to support their friends in achieving their dreams.
Which is probably why Ice Princess works so well. It's a fun, beautifully acted, and marvelously entertaining film that is all about following one's dream and making the most of opportunities when they arise. It's a great message movie; good for teenagers and adults alike which is probably why the film can be forgiven for somewhat misrepresenting the difficult and complex sport of figure skating.
Obviously artistic license had to be taken, but in reality, it takes at least ten years of hard work to reel off the triple jumps and arrive at the same advanced level that the lovely Casey Carlyle (Trachtenberg) reaches in this film. Take it from me; I know what it takes, as I live with a figure skating coach who is a twenty-five year veteran of the business, and it just isn't that easy! The talented Casey, complete with her rigorous sports science analysis, her obvious innate talent, and her undeniable passion, seems to accomplish her goals all in a single season!
Casey's Mother Joan (Joan Cusak) is determined to keep Casey on the Ivy League track, so Casey is forced to find an original science project that will impress Harvard College. She decides to identify the science of figure skating and sets about to prove that the technical aspects of the sport can be explained away by meticulous scientific scrutiny
After getting begrudging permission from a local group of elite teenage skaters, led by the chilly instructor and bitter ex-skater Tina Harwood (a fabulous Kim Cattrall), she starts filming the athletes and making notes. But something's missing; she needs to put more of her own personal experience into the project. So she starts taking lessons from Tina. But Tina is a skating snob that looks down on amateurs like Casey who don't come with affluent, moneyed parents.
Not to be put off, the brilliant Casey puts her gift for physics to use and quickly learns the sport. Tina and her daughter Gen (Hayden Panettiere) are shocked at her progress. But Tina desperately wants Gen, the most popular girl at school and who secretly dreams of quitting, to be the true champion. Meanwhile, Casey's mother thinks figure skating is vulgar and tawdry. Joan insists that her daughter drop the sport and concentrate on her Harvard entrance examination. Casey ignores her and continues to train at the rink, eventually finding romance with the hunky Zamboni driver Teddy (Trevor Blumas).
Ice Princess has some clever twists in the plot with the emphasis moving from Casey's troubled relationship with her mother to her difficult relationship with Tina and then back again. The acting is top notch and totally convincing with the standout being Cusack, who as Casey's arch-feminist mother considers skating costumes, event the modest ones, tasteless and demeaning to women.
Kim Katrell is also well cast as Tina, and she really makes you believe that she's a bitter, hard, and sour ex-skater who was thrown out of competitive skating and who now "lives" the sport through her uncommitted daughter. But the film really belongs to Michelle Trachtenberg; she's an unblemished charmer, and her rise from a clumsy innocence to someone overflowing with self-assurance makes her a pretty delectable ice princess.
And what of the quality of the skating? While it's really well filmed, with numerous cleverly done close ups of legwork, jumps, and spins, the skating itself is less than average and rather pedestrian. The stand-ins, Jennifer Robinson, Sandra Jean Rucker and Lauren Wilson, often come across as clunky, rough, and unfinished. If this were the real world, none of the skaters would probably not even qualify for the national championships, and perish the thought of them going up against Michelle Kwan and the other elite skaters!
However, this is a minor quibble, because Ice Princess largely delivers the goods; it's an involving, sweet natured, and lovely little film, which will no doubt inspire little girls who want to be princesses, and provide ninety minutes of unadulterated enjoyment for fans of figure skating, and for sports enthusiasts alike. Mike Leonard July 05.
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Initial post: 24 Nov 2013 01:04:42 GMT
M. Wilson says:
Hi, from the opening scene of Casey on the pond it is obvious that Casey is already a competent and talented skater, you make it sound like she just learned how to be a professional in a few months, but that's not true, it is likely that Casey had been skating on that pond for a decade or maybe more.
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