A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Echoing Thelma and Louise, the movie seems to unwittingly promote idea that suicide is a viable escape for a young person from the pressures of life. Nothing is too hard when you're living your dream. Someone says that professional dancers are "normal" people who have "not normal" jobs.
Positive Role Models
Dancers work hard but live in a world that promotes eating disorders, smoking, self-obsession, and other unhealthy habits.
Set in Spain with mostly Spanish actors. Dancers are forced to conform to an accepted body type that promotes eating disorders.
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Violence & Scariness
Young women commit suicide. Dancers rehearse despite painful injuries on bloody feet. A pedestrian is injured in a car accident. Someone deliberately sets broken glass in the shower to cut the foot of an unsuspecting dancer. Bloody toes are shown. Someone is badly injured in an altercation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adults kiss. A woman goes to find a man who kissed her, hoping to lose her virginity to him, but instead finds him kissing another woman. Female modern dancers perform topless. An injured girl is seen naked as she is bathed by her mother.
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"F--k," "s--t," "damn," "bitch," "ass," and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol. Dancers smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dancing on Glass is a 2022 Spanish drama about the grim lives of ballet dancers and the psychological toll their discipline takes on its young professionals. A star ballerina commits suicide as the story begins. Bare-chested dancers of both genders are shown, and a homoerotic subtext lies beneath the relationship between two troubled ballerinas. An injured girl is seen naked as she's bathed by her mother. One dancer suffers from bulimia. Dancers rehearse despite painful injuries on bloody feet. Someone deliberately sets broken glass in the shower to cut the foot of an unsuspecting dancer. Bloody toes are shown. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "bitch," "ass," and "hell." Adults drink alcohol. Dancers smoke cigarettes. In Spanish with English subtitles. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Dancing on Glass doesn't go for straight horror the way that other grim cinematic look at ballet, Black Swan, did, but as depicted here it's an icy, gloomy world. That dancers propel themselves on bloody feet and strained muscles, exhausted and bulimic, is almost an afterthought. Physical pain is the least of it. Norma admits she manipulates her dancers, pressing them to self-isolate and playing into their body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Fierce and even demented self-obsession is what Norma imposes on her dancers, pretending it's all in the name of great art. Norma orders the seamstress to make Irene's costume smaller, putting more pressure on the already bulimic dancer to be thinner. In a dress rehearsal, Irene nearly faints, probably because she can't expand her chest sufficiently to breathe as she exerts herself. Going home for these dancers is as bad as being at work, with a comically unsupportive father who disdains dance, and a creepily hovering mother who misses the days of her own ballet career and relives it through her daughter.
Despite convincing performances, it all makes for a depressing slog through the lives of girls who feel misunderstood, overworked, and terrified that they're expendable and replaceable. Even among the top dancers with the showcase roles, that insecurity is emphasized daily by Norma as she demands nothing less than perfection. In addition to presenting such a dismal world, the movie is slow and plodding, and almost entirely devoid of the joy that great art can create.
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.