Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School

1 h 44 min2006PG-13
Frank, a baker by trade, has been consumed by grief over his wife's death. But everything changes when he pulls his bread truck over on a rural highway to help a dying stranger entangled in a car wreck. A heartfelt, nostalgic and gently humorous story about a chance encounter in which one man's dreams become another man's destiny.
Randall Miller
Robert CarlyleJohn GoodmanSean Astin
Arts, Entertainment, and CultureComedyDrama
English [CC]Deutsch [UT]Español [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Mary SteenburgenMarisa TomeiDonnie WahlbergOctavia SpencerDanny DeVito
Randall MillerEileen CraftEduardo CastroMorris RuskinJody Savin
Samuel Goldwyn Films
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Foul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
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4.2 out of 5 stars

718 global ratings

  1. 62% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 7% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on April 13, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
How to reconnect to life again after loss
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This was a truly lovely film about dealing with loss and learning how to reconnect to life again after loss...When my husband died, after six months of deep grieving I took a Scottish Country Dance Class to help pull me out of the darkness...It was very difficult at first but I knew I had to go back or I wasn't going to make it...I focused intently and did not smile for a long time, but at my first formal dance someone commented at how I was laughing and smiling...They were as surprised as I was...Four years later, I'm still dancing and having a great time!...I related to this movie very much...Dancing can help heal a broken heart and bring a newer, deeper, bittersweet appreciation for life...
52 people found this helpful
Mary B.Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
OMG - What A Stellar Cast!
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Wow! This is a deceptively, powerful movie in a surprisingly quiet way. Many people won't like it because it's slow & methodical in presentation; but, that's how it ended up touching my heart. Me thinks this film is a work of love for someone who had a connection with all the famous actor/actresses that were in it - some having just a very small role. I was impressed. Even when the viewer gets just a tad impatient, there's a reason the build up is so slow. Hell, life may be a roller coaster but there still are times when things slow down to a crawl.

Let;s see, there's Danny Devito in the smallest of all the roles & it wasn't until the camera did a close-up of this character that I realized who was playing the part. John Goodman, Mary Steenburgen, Marisa Tomei, Adam Arkin, Donnie Wahlberg, Sonia Braga, Robert Carlyle, Sean Austin, Camryn Manheim, & the list goes on.

The critics felt this short film was heavily flawed; but, I didn't or at least it didn't register enough to bother me. Perhaps being in grief & life counseling myself the movie struck a cord. Whatever it's faults, i was caught up enough in it to be touched by each individual's story no matter how little the audience was told. For me, what was revealed was sufficient so at least a connected was created.

On many levels the films can be called amateurish - so what?!? I cannot stress enough how much that didn't bother me.

So, my advice is give it a go & if you don't feel any connection, stop watching. For those of you who feel the pull, stay with it & enjoy watching the main characters grow - albeit slowly, but grow nevertheless.

Sometimes a film doesn't have to be a masterpiece to touch a person's heart. Sometimes, you don't have to have had the exact same sort of experiences to connect. As with most things in life - it's how you view it.
16 people found this helpful
PeachyPatReviewed in the United States on July 10, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dancing away pain and loneliness.
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I'm not much for "feel good" movies but I love dancing so thought I would give it a whirl. It is great. All of the acting is terrific, the story is engaging and there is enough mystery going on to keep you guessing. Each of the characters brought something different to each story (two different stories blended together). Although we don't get to spend a lot of time with all of the characters, there is enough development during the movie to hold my interest and hope to see each of them again.
When I was in middle school, part of our Phys Ed class was dancing (reels and square dancing where I grew up) so the reaction of the kids brought back a lot of memories. Loved the kid who had the "hots" for the girls. Thank goodness there was one in my class so all of the girls got a chance to dance up close and personal with him. Wonder where he is today.
So even though, no gets gunned down, strangled or thrown under a train. there are no gangsters or cops and for the most part it's an up beat story, I still liked it and would recommend that spend some time watching Maybe even do a second run through to catch all of the changes that the characters to thru.
20 people found this helpful
AdrienneSkyReviewed in the United States on June 5, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
UGH!! Terrible, Mishmash of a Movie!! Run Away!!
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This terrible movie is, essentially, three story lines spliced together into one movie. The end result, sadly, is quite jarring, frustrating, disappointing, and ultimately maddening. I wanted to give up halfway through, but I didn't because I really like the actors. That was a BIG mistake. I wish I'd given up on it instead.

The three story lines are the Robert Carlyle thread, the John Goodman accident thread, and the John Goodman youth thread.

The Robert Carlyle thread is why you're here, most likely: it is the movie that the trailer presents and if they'd focused on THIS thread ONLY, I think it would have been a wonderful film about a man mourning the loss of his wife rediscovering the rhythm of his life through dance and the quirky characters that populate his life.

The John Goodman accident thread is John Goodman having an accident early in the film and, through a twist of fate, Robert Carlyle is present and remains with him waiting for first responders and during the ambulance ride to the accident. Ugh. These scenes were the worst for me. His demeanor and injuries were quite jarring and off putting to me. I didn't like him at all, and I didn't feel his presence contributed anything to the movie other than distracting from the Robert Carlyle thread. His presence is important because it's the catalyst for Robert Carlyle going to the dance class, but, seriously, they could have had a different catalyst and made a better movie by eliminating this thread.

Then there's the John Goodman youth thread, which is probably the only reason the movie exists. This thread is technically footage from a 1990 film of the same name about kids in a ballroom dancing class. One of the characters in the original film represents John Goodman's character in his youth, and this footage is used to illustrate John's memories as he tells Robert Carlyle's character about his youth and the important reasons SOMEONE needs to go to that dance class. As a plot device, I think this is really creative and an inventive way to resurrect and upcycle that footage. Unfortunately, I think it ultimately fell flat in this movie. I didn't care about John Goodman's character as an adult... I didn't care about him as a kid... the plot, if there was one, didn't draw me in... this was another distraction from the Robert Carlyle thread.

As a footnote, the tag at the end of the film that shows John Goodman's life in the 24 hours before the accident really took me from being disappointed with the film to mad at it. Ugh. Just ugh. Did not like his character at all. Not at all.
2 people found this helpful
Mikey808Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
5 Stars for sure
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This movie portrays the result of an intersection of the otherwise separate lives of two people. One story is present tense and the other from the past; the stories are intermixed and so you get what you need to know at the appropriate time in the movie.
This is not an action movie, no special effects. Not a lot of dancing. But realistic "dancer types" as the minor characters - reminded me of people I knew when I used to go to ballroom dancing weekly. This is a pensive movie of people dealing with the death of a loved one, and searching to fill the emptiness within.
There is humor, sadness, forgiveness and hope and a bunch of other emotions.
A great cast and the acting and dialog is very good. The plot is rather simple, but well suited for the story's purpose.
Robert Carlyle does a great job portraying Keane as a person transforming from being rather unnoteworthy and withdrawn to one with a new found hope and blooming socially. Marisa Tomei does equally well as Keane's love interest.
Even Danny Devito gets his two cents in...

Many of the characters undergo some development as time goes on.

If you like this type of move this one is well worth watching.
17 people found this helpful
ArtistDame1Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Trailer is NOT the tone of the movie ...
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Based on the trailer it looks like an all star cast in a somewhat lighthearted romantic comedy. Not the case. It is an all star cast and there is some great humor and some romance. That said, it has equally as much heaviness and sadness. I think it could be a difficult movie for anyone who has lost a spouse to death to watch. I didn't notice anything about movie quality; seemed fine to me. It was well enough acted with plots twists to keep me watching and guessing and definitely rates 4 stars in my opinion. It does use a lot of flashbacks to multiple points in time which is not my favorite style. One or two but this is more of a pinball machine effect. If you don't mind that and can stay with "who's on first," I think you will like it. It is very well acted.
17 people found this helpful
Double HappinessReviewed in the United States on December 29, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
A lot of emotion (loss) expressed in different ways
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John Goodman was in a dance class at age 12. He was forced to go there, but he enjoyed it, although he would never admit it. He fell in love with a little girl there, named Lisa. When they grew up, they never saw each other again. But they agreed to meet in about 40 years at a special time and place. John Goodman is released from jail. He rushes in a stolen car to meet Lisa again... and he crashes the car. He dies in the ambulance and never gets to meet Lisa. However, Lisa never showed up anyway.

Mr. Keane tries to save John Goodman from his car crash. As John Goodman is dying, he tells Mr. Keane his story and gives his dance class ticket to him, to go in his place to meet Lisa (who never showed up). Mr. Keane's wife had died recently (from suicide). Mr. Keane enjoys the dance class, even though he won't admit it, and meets Meredith (Marisa Tomei) and her crazy stepbrother (who both seem to be hurting, using the class to cope with their pain).

The woman who runs the dance class (Mary Steenburgen) always acknowledges her deceased mother, who originally ran the class, and she seems to be running the class in her memory.

Mr. Keane was in a therapy group for men who are grieving the loss of their deceased wives. When he talks about the dance class in his group, the men all want to go there also. So, all of the men end up going to the dance class, which is good for all of them.

At the end of the movie, I got the feeling that all of these people who were hurting started to deal with their pain.

Cameron Manheim and Danny DeVito are at the end, in very tiny roles.
2 people found this helpful
IloveromanceReviewed in the United States on August 23, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
The longer I watched the worse it got.
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This movie was on my TBW list forever and I should have really left it there-forever. If you're expecting to see a movie along the lines of Dirty Dancing or Shall We Dance, don't bother with this one. But I'll get into that in a minute. First the good (there isn't much)...I was surprised at the number of familiar faces in this movie. Aside from Marissa Tomei, there was John Goodman, Donnie Walhberg, Mary Steenbergen, Sean Astin, Danny DeVito (in a cameo), David Paymer and Allen Arkin to name a few. I didn't really care for Robert Carlyle in the lead role, but I really enjoyed John Goodman's performance throughout most of the movie.
Sadly that's mostly what I liked about the movie. Now for the bad. First of all, this movie really isn't about dancing. It's a sad movie (or it could have been, if they had done it right). It moves REALLY slow and never really goes anywhere. The main character is a new widower and as a widow myself, I hated the way his grief group was portrayed. It was all men, which I found strange, but also the way the grief counselor was practically ridiculing them was disturbing. The movie flashes back and forth and is mainly told from John Goodman's POV. Long story short, he asks Robert Carlyle to go to the dancing school in his place, which is where Robert meets Marissa Tomei. I found it weird that a man who claimed to have never danced before, suddenly picked up the dances just by watching Mary Steenbergen for about two minutes. There was no real dance instruction and no development of the characters. He does come to terms with his wife's death but ends up scattering her ashes in the place where she had passed away, which was incredibly tacky, given the way she died.
Another thing that bothered me is that this movie shows boys smoking-boys that are clearly 12 years old or younger and also shows them beating up girls, calling them and other boys disgusting names, etc.
***I have to add spoilers here so don't read on if you don't want to know. ****As I said before, the movie switches back and forth between three different "storylines". John Goodman's is told in flashback. He gets into an accident which Robert Carlyle witness after the fact and stays with him in the ambulance while the paramedics work to save him. John tells Robert that he's supposed to meet this woman at the dance school-the woman is a girl that he went to dance school with as a kid (the one he beat up). He asks Robert to go in his place to meet this woman. At the end of the movie we find out what had transpired to bring him to where he met Robert Carlyle. Up until that part, I had sympathy for his character, because he told his story with such heartfelt emotion that it was rather sad. But his true backstory was a huge disappointment and I no longer felt sorry for him. Robert does meet the woman in question but she is complete witch, who doesn't even remember her planned "date" with John Goodman. I found that kind of sad given the fact that it was so prominent throughout the movie.
The more this movie dragged on, the angrier I became and the less I liked it. I didn't expect much out of it, but this was far worse than I ever imagined.
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