Musical Chairs

  • Review Date: March 23, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Injured dancer learns new moves in inspiring, trite tale.
  • Review Date: March 23, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong message about being happy no matter what your circumstances. After a tragic accident, Mia is at first despondent, but eventually she realizes that she can either give in to despair or choose to pursue happiness.

Positive role models

Armando is completely devoted to Mia, and his love and support helps motivate her to not give in to self-pity. And Mia learns that life goes on, whether you can walk or not, and that she can choose to either wallow in grief or seek fulfillment.

Violence

People shove each other around during arguments. A woman slaps a man after he touches her suggestively. Mia's injuries are the result of a car crash.

Sex

Some tender kissing and a few discussions about whether paralyzed men are capable of having sex. A transsexual discusses her artificial breasts, nicknamed Thelma and Louise.

Language

Swearing includes infrequent use of "f--k," "p---y," and "piss," as well as "jerk," "hell," and "bitch."

Consumerism

Some Apple products on screen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One discussion about selling marijuana. Some smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Musical Chairs is an inspiring drama about a ballroom dancer who must pick up the pieces of her life after a car crash leaves her in a wheelchair. At first she refuses to even think that she'll have much of a life, but a fellow dancer's devotion helps her realize that she can live -- and love. There's some smoking and a discussion about selling pot, plus some moderate swearing (including infrequent use of "f--k" and "p---y"), as well as some flirting and kissing. A transsexual character discusses her artificial breasts.

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What's the story?

Mia (Leah Pipes) is training for a national ballroom competition until a tragic accident leaves her in a wheelchair. Crushed and despondent, she wallows in self-pity, convinced that her life might as well be over; and her dance partner and boyfriend suddenly is too busy to stop by to visit. Enter Armando (E.J. Bonilla), the custodian at the dance studio who's been nursing a secret crush on Mia. Armando helps her realize that life goes on, if only she'll choose to participate. And the key to motivating Mia is the upcoming ballroom dance competition for people in wheelchairs.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

MUSICAL CHAIRS is uplifting, but so very formulaic. Bonilla has charisma, and he can certainly move, but every step he takes seems lifted from the standard-issue overcoming-adversity script. Supporting cast of quirky underdogs? Check. Second-act complication that threatens to derail both romance and Mia's path to recovery? Check. Training montage? Yep. And a dramatic finale where the main characters, against all odds, manage to shine. What do you think?

Still, fans of dance movies and/or uplifting tales -- especially those on the younger side who aren't already jaded about this kind of story -- may find it an entertaining escape.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Mia's attitude. Do you think her reaction to her injury seems realistic? How would you feel if you ended up in a wheelchair? Do you think you might act like her?

  • Does Musical Chairs follow a standard "overcoming adversity" formula? Can you think of any films that are structured similarly to this one? Why is this kind of story appealing?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 23, 2012
Cast:E.J. Bonilla, Leah Pipes, Priscilla Lopez
Director:Susan Seidelman
Studio:Dream Dance Films
Genre:Drama
Topics:Arts and dance, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, some sexual material and a brief drug reference

This review of Musical Chairs was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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