There is a purity of spirit and heart in Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School that hearkens back to a simpler, more straightforward place, a place that draws from emotional memories of growing up, with its scars and lost dreams. That’s a place where film doesn’t often venture during these cynical times, but that’s a shame because it is a locale where we sometimes experience our deepest feelings when a film evokes it well. Without question, Marilyn Hotchkiss reaches out and touches you deeply.
Robert Carlyle is Frank Keane, a baker by trade but now a man consumed by his wife’s death. When fate intervenes, he pulls over to help a stranger in a car wreck, a man near death (John Goodman) who urgently discloses a planned reunion, a meeting with a lost childhood love at a school for ballroom dance. So simply one man’s dream becomes another man’s destiny.
The film is directed with passion and an unerring delicate touch by veteran Randall Miller, whose vision started out as an award-winning short 15 years ago and has now blossomed into a beautifully sculpted melodrama which includes much of the original. An incredible cast supports Miller in his quest, including Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Donnie Wahlberg and Sean Astin. They have woven this tale of nostalgia and the process of grief, lost love and love found into a magical work not to missed.
–Geoffrey Gilmore, Director of the Sundance Film Festival