7.3/10
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Mao's Last Dancer (2009)

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In Maoist China, a boy is taken from his family and trained to become a dancer, but everything he knows is challenged when he is chosen to attend a ballet summer school in Houston, Texas.

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writers:

Jan Sardi (screenplay), Cunxin Li (autobiography)
6 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chi Cao ... Li - as an adult
Bruce Greenwood ... Ben Stevenson
Penne Hackforth-Jones Penne Hackforth-Jones ... Cynthia Dodds
Christopher Kirby ... Mason (as Chris Kirby)
Suzie Steen ... Betty Lou
Madeleine Eastoe Madeleine Eastoe ... Lori
Aden Young ... Dilworth
Wen Bin Huang Wen Bin Huang ... Li - as a child
Shu Guang Liang Shu Guang Liang ... Jing Tring - 8 yrs
Ye Wang Ye Wang ... Cunfar - 14 yrs
Neng Neng Zhang Neng Neng Zhang ... Gong Mei
Wan Shi Xu Wan Shi Xu ... Shen Yu
Shao Wei Yi Shao Wei Yi ... Yang Ping
Hui Cong Zhan Hui Cong Zhan ... Teacher Song
Ji Feng Sun Ji Feng Sun ... Headmaster
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Storyline

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before You Can Fly You Have To Be Free.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El prodigio See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

AUD 2,754,617 (Australia), 4 October 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$199,657, 22 August 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,806,750, 5 December 2010
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Schull, Amanda who plays Li's wife Elizabeth--the American dancer who leaves him to audition for the San Francisco Ballet--was herself a member of the SF corps de ballet until she retired in 2006. See more »

Goofs

A scene in a bar has Cunxin talking with a friend who offers Cunxin a Pepsi. Cunxin takes a sip, then lets the straw fall into the bottle. When the shot cuts to the reverse, the straw is sticking out a long way from the bottle without being held. When the shot cuts back, the straw is down again. See more »

Quotes

Li - as an adult: If I have a dream, it's to be able to go back one day
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Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: The Switch (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in D
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Simon Tedeschi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Bruce Beresford masterpiece
26 September 2009 | by brimon28See all my reviews

This cineaste and balletomane had given up many years ago any hope of ever seeing the dance rendered adequately on film. Enter Bruce Beresford. I suppose every ladies' book club in the English-speaking world has read Mao's Last Dancer, so if you wanted to make a film based on that autobiography, you'd first have to find a brave director. Well, this is it. Linking together life in desolate inner China and a sophisticated western world has been done before. But there is an emotional story here, and the casting agencies deserve enormous credit for finding such competent people. I mean, do you find an actor and teach him to dance, or do you get a dancer to act? Whatever; the lead in this film can dance very well indeed, and his acting is more than competent. I won't retell the story. Just let it be said, that at the performance I saw, most of the audience sat through the credits. Those who left early looked mystifed by the applause. A ladies' book club cum chick flick? I think not. Sure, the tissues were out, but this is one surely exciting film.


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