Jennifer Beals Dances in to are Lives and Hearts in Flashdance
When you think about 1980's movie "Flashdance" you tend to remember the lively soundtrack with "What a Feeling" and Jennifer Beals who thanks to a series of sexy dance scenes won audiences over. Funnily though very few mention that it was about a young woman who dreams of dancing but works as a welder. But then that's not really that surprising because there really isn't that much to "Flashdance" or at least nothing really unique, leaving you with just the memory of Jennifer Beals sexily dancing through various scenes.
During the day Alex, a sexy young woman, roughs it as a welder at the Pittsburgh steel works, but come the end of the day she does what she loves to do and that is dance in the local bars. Fearing that she isn't good enough to become a professional dancer she constantly finds excuses not to try out. But finally plucks up the courage to try for her dream thanks to her friends and new boyfriend.
On first look "Flashdance" looks like a rather rudimentary movie, with a romantic storyline which you expect to be central to things. But surprisingly the romantic storyline isn't really what "Flashdance" is about, but rather the journey of Alex as an unconfident dancer to someone willing to take risks. Which should sound great if it wasn't for the fact that it's all a bit cliché, that journey we watch Alex take where she goes from be scared of failure to willing to risk it ends up less than memorable and lacking that big empowering feel that you would expect. Much of which is down to the camera's love of Jennifer Beals shapely body which it spends a vast amount of time focusing upon.
There lies one of the main problems, "Flashdance" may have the idea for a good story but it ends up focusing on creating memorable scenes rather than a memorable storyline. So as such we get those welding scenes, which were the butt of a joke in the brilliantly funny "The Full Monty" and then there are plenty of dance scenes, many of which stick in your mind for being provocative and sexy including the stage shower scene whilst others are just memorably weird as in the gym work out which plays like a pop video. The thing is that whilst these scenes are enjoyable, and watching Jennifer Beals dance in a sexy manner is the stuff of fantasy, it ends up becoming the focus of the movie rather than the storyline.
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Now one thing is for sure, Jennifer Beals is seriously sexy and director Adrian Lyne (Unfaithful) obviously thinks so too because he spends a lot of the time focusing on her shapely body be it in those dance scenes, tight fitting dancewear or just sitting there with her top falling off her shoulders. In a way it's a shame that Lyne did this because Beals doesn't do a bad job of delivering Alex as a woman on a personal journey, going from afraid to confident. She even delivers that slight tomboy-ness working in the male dominated construction site whilst making it still a little feminine. It's only when it comes to that romantic storyline does she seem to struggle, unconvincing as someone in love which maybe as much to do with the predictable romantic storyline as her own acting ability.
Aside from Jennifer Beals it has to be said that the rest of the cast are for the most unforgettable. Michal Nouri as Nick Alex's boss and love interest delivers an adequate but ultimately stereotypical character as does Kyle T. Heffner who as Richie plays Alex's friend and aspiring comedian.
Whilst Jennifer Beals is the most memorable thing about "Flashdance" it does feature a now iconic soundtrack much to the credit of Irene Cara's "What a Feeling". But that's not the only memorable song as accompanying various dance scenes are such songs as "Maniac", "Gloria" and "I Love Rock 'N' Roll".
All in all "Flashdance" is both an entertaining and memorable movie. But it is the various sexy dance scenes, songs and the lovely Jennifer Beals which are memorable and not really the storyline which ends up both predictable and underused.
Director: Adrian Lyne
Cast: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala, Sunny Johnson, Kyle T. Heffner, Lee Ving, Ron Karabatsos, Belinda Bauer
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