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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Battle is a Norwegian film with English subtitles about a young modern dancer who falls in love with a boy from the “wrong side of the tracks,” and is captivated by Oslo’s competitive hip-hop dance community. Based on a book, it’s a typical “two-worlds-clash" story with dance at its center. Viewers should expect some partial nudity (bare female breasts) as dancers dress and undress backstage. Lovers kiss, passionately embrace. Language includes frequent use of “f--k,” “s--t,” “damn,” “hell.” Young people (teen and/or college-age) drink alcohol, and a featured character is drunk in one sequence. Despite the profanity and drinking, the movie is intended for and should appeal to youthful audiences.
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What's the story?
BATTLE introduces Amalie (Lisa Teige), a modern dance student who lives a more-than-comfortable life with an easygoing circle of friends, an attractive and attentive boyfriend (Vebjourn Enger), and a wealthy dad who is very generous. Her demanding dance teacher knows that Amalie is one of the best dancers in her class and has a chance to win the one available spot in a prestigious school in Amsterdam. One day changes everything. To Amalie’s utter disbelief and horror, the family money is gone. She and her dad have but moments to pack up a few belongings and leave their beautiful home for a small apartment in a working-class neighborhood. Ashamed and afraid, Amalie keeps her unexpected new circumstances a secret. She finds a place to practice in a community space where Mikael (Fabian Svegaard Tapia) is practicing his hip-hop moves. It's Mikael who takes Amalie under his wing and introduces her to a high-energy, new dance community populated by kids without money and social status. It’s freestyle hip-hop -- competitive and fun. It’s because of her relationship with Mikael that Amalie re-examines her life thus far and opens herself up to new and fulfilling experiences.
Is it any good?
Dynamic choreography, a winning romance, and solid acting manage to transcend an otherwise-predictable story about class and hip-hop dancing, certainly the first of its kind set in Norway. Which is part of Battle's charm. It's also the first leading movie role for Lisa Teige, who made a big impression during her years on one of that country's popular television series. The film has all the elements that romance fans enjoy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and the third act is never in doubt. Especially since the two principals so vitally combine two very different styles of dance as they soar toward a warm and happy resolution. The ease with which the young people swear throughout -- and it can't be ignored because it's written across the screen in English -- may prove objectionable to some, but still there's an innocence in the project that shouldn't be overlooked either. Fine for teens with the caution about profanity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dance that's at the heart of Battle. What are the origins of hip-hop? Were you surprised to learn that hip-hop has a place in a Scandinavian country? How did the movie's final dance sequences blend modern dance with hip-hop?
What defines the characters and/or events in this film as specifically Norwegian? In what way(s) does it show that there's commonality in young people that crosses borders and oceans?
How did Amalie’s experience with hip-hop and Mikael affect her view of herself and her community? What character strengths did she call upon to help her adjust to the changes in life?
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