First Position - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

First Position Reviews

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Chris Barsanti
May 3, 2012
...crowd-pleasing but ultimately dissatisfying
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Nick Schager
Village Voice
May 1, 2012
The result is a film that eschews in-depth insight in favor of easily digestible who's-going-to-win suspense...
David Jenkins
Little White Lies
April 11, 2013
Settles for heartwarming "follow your dreams" platitudes rather than following the cold realities of being a dancer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
May 1, 2012
This material could have been assembled into a more creative and suspenseful narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Peter Bradshaw
April 11, 2013
A blandly feelgood documentary about aspiring young ballet dancers.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Francesca Rudkin
New Zealand Herald
June 14, 2016
If you've got tweens and teens who are into dancing, be it in classes or around the house, it offers a pleasant cultural alternative to the other holiday entertainment on offer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
August 24, 2012
An arresting documentary about the dedication and sacrifice it takes to be able to spin around like a whirling dervish on the tip of your toes without getting sickeningly dizzy.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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
Ellen Dunkel
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 10, 2012
The film shows the grueling work it takes for young dancers like Zamora to look effortless on stage, and First Position shows teachers who range from supportive to borderline abusive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
May 4, 2012
[It] seems fresh in the way it respects both the art in ballet and the discipline it demands - even in childhood.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
John Semley
Slant Magazine
May 4, 2012
The doc twists out its six narrative threads with measured compassion and even-handedness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Emily Kirkpatrick
Paste Magazine
May 3, 2012
An interesting look into the intense labor these children put into crafting performances that are meant to look beautiful and effortless. That being said, the documentary offers no real surprises.
Full Review | Original Score: 6.7/10
Emma Dibdin
Total Film
April 9, 2013
If you thought Black Swan made ballet look grim, this festival-fave documentary offers an earthier but no less griping portrait of the profession's crippling realities.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Matthew Toomey
ABC Radio Brisbane
April 7, 2013
If this film doesn't put a smile on your face, you are too hard to please.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Rebecca Barry Hill
April 25, 2013
The joy of watching lies in the purity of the dancer's passion.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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
May 7, 2012
Magically upbeat and exhilarating in spirit. Particularly noteworthy is the way director Bess Kargman manages to address a few world issues with great hopefulness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Paul Gallagher
The List
January 29, 2013
Debut director Bess Kargman establishes herself as a skilled documentarian, drawing out humour and tension from the contestants' experiences without manipulating their stories for melodramatic effect.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
May 5, 2012
Beneath the jetÚs and bleeding feet, First Position is about toughness of mind as much as visions of beauty. In one case it's about a transformation so profound as to be unfathomable.
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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