First Position - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

First Position Reviews

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Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
July 19, 2012
If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rick Kisonak
Seven Days
June 13, 2012
Far from the dutiful progeny of "Dance Moms," these are individuals of uncommon skill, self-knowledge, maturity and drive. They're the real deal. And so is First Position.
June 12, 2012
All of the dollars and expertise that produced this summer's blockbusters could never produce a spectacle as wondrous as 11-year-old Aran Bell dancing his heart out.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
June 8, 2012
Kargman ... brings a welcome empathy to this programmatic film that follows six hopefuls as they compete in something called the Youth America Grand Prix, which we're told is the most comprehensive ballet competition in the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 87/100
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
June 8, 2012
The children are almost unearthly in their agility and elegance -- until they remove their shoes, and reveal their all-too-human abrasions and injuries.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Kimberley Jones
Austin Chronicle
May 25, 2012
It's a wealth of material at odds with a scant running time and shallow focus.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 24, 2012
When it's over, you won't remember so much about who won and who lost. Instead, what remains is the expression on a young dancer's face, reflected in a mirror: showing the joy of being in love with what you do.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Jeanne Kaplan
Kaplan vs. Kaplan
May 18, 2012
What we experience is the overwhelming thrill of the competition and the true agony of defeat.
David Kaplan
Kaplan vs. Kaplan
May 18, 2012
It could very well compete for Best Documentary at next year's Academy Awards.
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 18, 2012
For someone (like me) who has never been to a ballet, the talent of these teens and tweens is a revelation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
May 17, 2012
A number of the performances are plain stunning - Aran and Joan, in particular, seem born to move - and in many ways watching the movie is like watching a sporting event; there are winners and losers and favorites to cheer on.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
James Verniere
Boston Herald
May 11, 2012
It's 'Spartacus' en pointe.
Full Review | Original Score: B plus
S. Jhoanna Robledo
Common Sense Media
May 11, 2012
Inspiring documentary about hardworking young dancers.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Brian Orndorf
BrianOrndorf.com
May 11, 2012
Almost loses its sense of good taste entirely in the final act, straining to build suspense and shape heroes. The bias hangs a little ugly in an otherwise passable, somewhat enlightening effort.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
May 11, 2012
The cookie cutter format Kargman uses in presenting her subjects may be unoriginal but a safe way to introduce the filmmaker to her new audience.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Amy Hitt
Washington Post
May 11, 2012
It's an intense journey, and Kargman captures it all, down to the dancers' bloodied and bruised feet.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Allan Ulrich
San Francisco Chronicle
May 10, 2012
Yes, it is possible to create a gripping documentary about the ballet world without resorting to "Black Swan" melodramatics.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jordan Levin
Miami Herald
May 10, 2012
Child ballet dancer and former journalist Bess Kargman brings a dancer's passion and insight to her directorial debut, illuminating the addictive magic and fierce demands of a ballet dancer's life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
May 10, 2012
Really, all of the dancers' evident passion for their art is, well, spellbinding.
| Original Score: 3/4
Brett Michel
Boston Phoenix
May 10, 2012
These kids are proud of their tights.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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