Parents' Guide to

Breaking Through

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Edgy dance drama explores pitfalls of seeking Internet fame.

Movie NR 2015 90 minutes
Breaking Through Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

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Although the story is fairly predictable, this hip-hop coming-of-age tale offers a decent mix of dance sequences and a plot about the ephemeral nature of Internet celebrity. Aguiar, a former Britney Spears backup dancer, is believably talented (if not necessarily charismatic) enough to play a young woman who's not just hoping for her big break on YouTube but actively pursuing it. Her crew features real dancers (So You Think You Can Dance devotees will recognize alum Roldan, and Rodrigues -- of Australia's Dance Academy and ABC Family's The Fosters fame -- is particularly well cast as Casey's best friend, neighbor, and possible love interest). Rounding out the crew are Heart, a contortionist and dancer, as the youngest (and most naive) member of the crew, and McCarroll, a former America's Best Dance Crew contestant, as a senior hoping to get into Berkeley on a music scholarship.

These may not be household names, but that's not a big deal, considering that none of the original Step Up dance/actors were either, and Breaking Through's director penned one of those films. What is a big deal is that Casey isn't that appealing except when she's dancing. Not that characters always need not to be likable, but it goes a long way in an underdog story like this for the audience to feel a connection to her. Still, the dance sequences are plentiful and occasionally include cameos from YouTube dance sensations like French brothers Les Twins and Asian-American hip-hop crew Poreotics. Have no clue who anyone is? Even those who won't recognize anyone in the movie will still find Casey's journey toward stardom and back to her friends both familiar and heartwarming.

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