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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Audiences will learn a bit about Paris in the 1880s, the Opera Ballet School, and the maker of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
Felicie's story proves that even enthusiastic lovers of an art form must practice and perfect their skills. Desire and willingness to learn alone don't make a talented artist/dancer/etc. -- you have to work hard, listen to your coaches/teachers, and dedicate yourself to improving. Also promotes close, unconditional friendship, the value of mentors, and pursuing your dream. The story involves a deception, but there are consequences for that action.
Positive Role Models
Felicie is an optimistic dreamer who believes her dreams can and will come true; she makes a few iffy choices on her path (i.e., pretending to be someone else), but she also owns up to those choices. Victor is talented and loyal. Odette is hardworking and kind; she's a tough but encouraging tutor to Felicie. The ballet master is strict and exacting, but he also acknowledges and respects the dancers who are disciplined and improve their skills.
Violence & Scariness
Scary chase scene between Camille's homicidal mother and Felicie. A security guard grabs Felicie and is about to strike her when she's saved. Lots of physical comedy, with characters getting injured in a comical way -- crashing into poles, bonking their heads, falling over, taking death-defying tumbles, etc. Camille purposely throws Felicie's beloved music box out the window.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of cheek kisses and hugs; flirting.
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Insults: "you're nothing," "little rat," "beggar," "liar," "cheater," "thief," etc. Scatological jokes about bad breath, farts, wetting yourself, etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Felicie and Victor go to a pub where adults are drinking, but they don't drink themselves. Victor recounts his time in Paris and that also includes going to pubs (but again, he himself doesn't drink).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Leap! is an animated movie set in 1879 Paris, where tween best friends/orphans Felicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) and Victor (Nat Wolff) each work to make their dreams come true (dancing and inventing, respectively). They escape to Paris from a strict orphanage in Brittany and face some challenging situations -- like navigating the streets of a major city to find shelter and opportunity and having to flee from angry adults who mean them harm (one wants to catch them, another wants to hurt and even kill Felicie). Felicie pretends to be someone she's not, there's ridicule from a fellow tween, and characters experience lots of physical comedy/injuries played for humor. Expect a little romance: It's made clear that a boy has feelings for a girl, and there are a couple of kisses on the cheek (one involving tweens, the other adults) and mentions of girlfriends/boyfriends and dating. Scenes take place in pubs/taverns where adults are drinking. Language is limited to insults like "nothing," "rat," "beggar," and some scatological jokes about bad breath, farts, and pee. The story should spark positive conversations about talent requiring perseverance and dedication, ballet, Paris, and the origins of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This animated ballet story is partly inspiring and partly confounding, with missteps (like unnecessary romance) that could have been fixed had the tween protagonists been a couple of years older. Felicie isn't always particularly likable or laudable (she does steal someone's identity to fake her way into a prestigious ballet school, despite not having even basic dance training), but she is persistent and willing to do the work. While it's still utterly unbelievable that someone could learn enough classical ballet to defeat an entire class of 11-year-old girls who've been dancing for years, at least she ultimately has to face consequences for her actions and prove she's really got the goods.
Fanning is nicely enthusiastic as Felicie, and Wolff does a good job with Victor, the clever, eager-to-please/impress best friend. And Jepsen (whose speaking voice sounds a bit like Idina Menzel's) believably embodies the stern but encouraging Odette, Felicie's ballet mentor/instructor. With themes familiar from The Karate Kid (jump up and ring the bell) and even Titanic (especially an odd, slightly off-putting love triangle, a sequence in which Felicie dances Irish jig-style in a pub, and a moment when a cute boy declares they're "on top of the world"), the story feels a little "old" to revolve around an 11-year-old character.
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.