Dancer Li Cunxin's award-winning book about his journey from a Houston Ballet exchange student to principal dancer succeeds on screen because of Chi Cao's emotional power as a dancer. The latest by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy
, Breaker Morant
) is based on the autobiography of Chinese dancer Li Cunxin. Beresford knows how to tell a story with his camera, and in a film without stars (Bruce Greenwood and Kyle MacLachlan headline) an extraordinary dancer takes center stage. The acting of Chi, a Birmingham Royal Ballet soloist, may pale next to his dancing, but not inappropriately so for a character whose emotions are guarded due to a lifetime of surveillance. It may hopelessly retro to say it, but this is the kind of film Hollywood regularly used to make: not focus grouped to a niche market, but suitable for children, adults and grandparents; about the joys and sorrows of life and art.