A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
We should value those who demonstrate a creative spirit, but following the rules also has merit. Being different is OK.
Positive Role Models
Tutu loves to dance, practicing at home and making up dances in her room. Her dad is supportive of her efforts. Several girls mock Tutu's name and clothes.
Violence & Scariness
Bullying. A girl falls and injures herself during a dance rehearsal. White moms openly denigrate the one Hispanic ballet mom in the group, complaining that the empanadas she brings to snack on smell bad.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man and woman lean in for a kiss but are interrupted.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that You Can Tutu targets an audience of young girls who dream of being ballerinas twirling through life. The movie takes a simplistic approach to attracting those girls, drawing stark lines dividing good from bad, bullies from victims, and creatives from drones. As befitting a movie celebrating the grace and poise of ballet, all the "baddies" are eventually persuaded to cross over into the good by the end of the film. The story features a single dad raising his daughter alone and ballet moms who value appearances and boast-worthy achievement seemingly above all else. Several girls mock Tutu's name and clothes. White moms openly denigrate the one Hispanic ballet mom in the group, complaining that the empanadas she brings to snack on smell bad. 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 movie targets young girls, whose taste and discernment won't rule them out as eager consumers of this junky, low-budget piece of pink-encrusted fluff. You Can Tutu feels so generic, so unoriginal, so much a rip-off of other, better, stories that one can imagine it being produced, written, or directed by some creatively-bankrupt soul looking to A) make some -- really any -- kind of movie and B) showcase the adorable young dancer they happened to glimpse next door. "You just watch, I'll make you a star, kid!" The movie is so banal and predictable that in the rare moments in which something lifelike happens, you have to assume it is by accident.
And it feels downright irresponsible to ignore the body image issues and eating disorders that are rampant among young girl dancers. Clichés form the story's building blocks. A new kid and her single dad move to a different London neighborhood, requiring that the girl start at a new school full of bullies and a new ballet school where the same girls mock her supposed originality, a trait that is somehow certified by the fact that she wears multicolored leotards. The school's regimental headmistress is a villain straight out of central casting. All but one of the ballet moms of Tutu's horrid classmates are boastful and superficial, living through their children and eyeing the single dad in their midst like a tasty morsel to be plucked up and swallowed whole. Imagine all of that performed by mostly inept actors saying lines badly. The film's central premise is shaky, as we are expected to admire Tutu because she doesn't like to stick to the choreography set by the headmistress. This is odd; while there's lots of room for creativity in different kinds of dance, ballet is a choreographer's art and dancers are expected to use their gifts to interpret their prescribed steps, not to improvise during performances. At least Lily O'Regan is a charming presence, and the dance performances at the end are lovely.
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.