Strictly Ballroom

1992, PG-13, 121 min. Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Starring Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter.

REVIEWED Fri., March 5, 1993

Strictly Ballroom is shamelessly manipulative, blatantly derivative, and hopelessly maudlin. So why did I love this movie so much? Possibly because it has the gall to be all those things without blushing. Although made in Australia, Strictly Ballroom takes its cues from American pop culture; it emulates Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, Dirty Dancing, and other Hollywood movies in which the underdog must prove himself to a world that doesn't understand what compels him. Of course, everyone pressures him to conform but it's not until he finds his Cinderella, a shy and awkward young girl who understands his feelings, that he actually dares to make his dream come true. Metaphorically speaking, Strictly Ballroom celebrates individuality over homogeneity; for all its melodramatic flourishes and grotesque exaggerations, it never mocks the hero's dream of self-expression.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Baz Luhrmann Films
The Great Gatsby
A great American novel does not always a great movie make, but Baz Lurhmann, a director of delirious excess, certainly seems an apt fit for the Roaring Twenties.

Kimberley Jones, May 10, 2013

Baz Luhrmann teams with fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman for this romantic action-adventure epic.

Kimberley Jones, Nov. 28, 2008


Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrmann, Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle