Parents' Guide to

An American Girl: Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Young dancer learns lessons in sweet live-action movie.

Movie G 2014 100 minutes
An American Girl: Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 5+

Terrible Movie!

This movie was a snoozefest. A home movie could be better than this. The Girl of the Year's only problem was that she couldn't do a pirouette. If you watch this movie (which if you choose to do, please rent it or watch on Netflix), please be prepared for 80 minutes of whining and 10 minutes of pure cheesy stuff. You will never get the time you spent with this movie back!
age 5+

Great movie but a bit confusing.

This movie is great but it was slightly confusing for my 9 year old due to the fact Isabelle in the movie is supposed to be 9 and was played by a then 15 year old, with full on breasts. Just know this this topic may come up.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (8):

American Girl and director Laurence Yep know what they're doing with these Girl of the Year films. They're all surprisingly well made, written, and performed -- even if the protagonists tend to be a little whiny at times as they're painting and tumbling and, in this case, dancing their hearts out with quiet strength and discipline. Isabelle isn't always the most likable character (there's the aforementioned whining and self-pitying and general self-absorption that makes it hard for her to empathize with Jade), but she's also ridiculously sweet and well-intentioned, and, as she's the movie's obvious underdog, it's impossible not to cheer her on as she tries to perfect all those pirouettes.

Melora Hardin plays Jade and Isabelle's patient, loving, and artistic mom, who never once comes across as a demanding "dance mom" -- she's just super supportive of her two talented girls. Fans of ballet and The Nutcracker in particular will love seeing all the bunheads in action -- and they'll love Isabelle finally realizing she can do it after all. There's even a little bit of High School Musical, as the kids at the Anna Hart School jam together during lunchtime (parents will be reminded of Fame, but this film is aimed at much younger kids). If you're a fan of the dolls or just the movies, Isabelle is another sweet and empowering American Girl story that encourages girls to believe in themselves and reach for their dreams.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate