I generally try to avoid showing my kids overly gendered, patriarchal rubbish in films and tv shows that are aimed towards little kids, particularly little girls. But then I came across this one.
Summary: An otherwise promising film about a girl who pursues her interests, pushes back against bullies, works really hard, wins a fierce competition, outruns a homicidal maniac and achieves her dream of becoming a ballerina on the stage of the Paris Opera House.
Patriarchal fuckery: This is derailed by a completely pointless, tangential and borderline inappropriate romantic plot (how old are these orphanage escapees meant to be?) in which her annoying, possessive friend pursues her romantically, won’t take no for an answer and does his best to manipulate her. He even literally swoops in to save her when she’s in distress, using some flying invention he has somehow had the wherewithal to cobble together, despite having been shown to be totally incompetent and deluded the rest of the time.
Crowning moment of patriarchal decrepitude: as the protagonist achieves her lifelong dream in the final scene, dancing on the opera house stage, the obsessive male friend gets the last line of the entire film: “that’s my girlfriend!”
This completely spoils the message of the rest of the film.
While some might see it as a kind of quirky and hilarious final jab at how stupid and possessive the friend is, little kids are not discerning enough to understand the difference.
Verdict: I find it hard to recommend Ballerina to a younger audience.