Parents' Guide to

Dance First

By Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Samuel Beckett biopic has profound themes, lots of smoking.

Movie NR 2023 100 minutes
Dance First movie poster: Gabriel Byrne as Samuel Beckett stands with a green-blue background behind him.

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This telling of the life of one of Ireland's most famous sons is proof that biopics can have a unique creativity to them, away from the more traditional cradle-to-the-grave formula. Dance First still takes a profound look across Beckett's life, but the film takes artistic risks and a fascinating route into his mind. Throughout the film, Beckett is effectively talking to himself, narrating his own tale as he takes an introspective look back across a life that shaped him into one of the world's foremost writers. It's an approach Beckett would no doubt be rather proud of himself. When dealing with a character study quite so intense and intimate, you require a strong leading performance, and Byrne delivers emphatically. There should also be a nod toward Fionn O'Shea, who does a fine job bringing Beckett's younger self to life in flashback scenes.

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