WHAT'S IT ABOUT

The story of inspirational ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West.

What did we think

  1. Amy Currie July 17, 2019

    I’m so glad this story wasn’t given the full Hollywood feelgood treatment. If it had been, the protagonist would have been made over into a plucky young man who just wanted to dance. Everyone would have spoken in heavily accented English all the time, and there would have been at least one inspirational speech about following your capitalist dreams. Ugh.

    Fortunately, this biopic is a BBC Films release. Nureyev is wonderfully stubborn and, at times, actively unlikeable. The majority of the film is subtitled (Ralph Fiennes performs entirely in Russian!) and Nureyev’s KGB minder is just a man trying to do his job.

    The film isn’t perfect. Nureyev’s sexuality is depicted a little too politely, and flashbacks to his grim childhood in The Old Country get downright melodramatic (surely it wasn’t ALWAYS snowing). Despite this, I was thoroughly drawn in.

    Four stars.

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