Review No. 582
Oh what a feeling! (What else is there to say?)
Director — Adrian Lyne
Producers — Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Jacobson, Lynda Rosen Obst, Peter Guber, Jon Peters
Screenplay — Tom Hedley & Joe Eszterhas
Story — Mr. Hedley
Jennifer Beals — Alexandra “Alex” Owens
Michael Nouri — Nick Hurley
Distributor — Paramount Pictures
Release Date — April 15, 1983
Language — English
Country — USA
Running Time — 1 hour, 35 minutes
MPAA Rating — R
Flags (allmovie.com) — adult language; adult situations; not for children; nudity; profanity
FLASHDANCE WAS WATCHED ON AUGUST 18, 2013.
Adrian Lyne’s sophomore swing as a director is fun for one reason–it feels the 1980s as a zeitgeist for cheesy entertainment, not as a decade. Yeah, I had a pretty fun time with Flashdance. But maybe “cheesy” is the wrong word. Most ’80s movies are delightfully cheesy, from beginning to end. Everybody who is involved with making this movie is equally in love with it, and the results can vary. Of all the films that have been alluded to, this one takes an easy #1 (from my viewings, at least), but a good fifty percent of that is just the opening scene. It’s so intoxicating, you don’t immediately realize that this is a really poor dancer, and that amount of water would probably injure a person, especially if she was bent back that far. But later on, it’s become a way of teasing the audience, as if for a loud, unanimous “Why!?”: the finale begins with a few bars of “What a Feeling” and cuts off, simply because the dancing needs to be worsened. It’s a killjoy sort of ending just for the cheese.
Those who spotted the poster know that the tagline is: “Take your passion and make it happen!” Yes, we’re left with the thought as to why the movie was made, when all it does is affirm that if you “Take your passion and make it happen!” it’s going to be really easy, every step of the way. But this is the result of an ending that took five minutes out of the entire movie. I’m betting there’s an alternate ending somewhere, featuring a more believable conclusion, and I’d like to see it sometime. Or maybe there isn’t, since there’s not even a concern for the story. It’s rather carefree, which isn’t bad at all. This is what some may call a “guilty pleasure” and others might not even see what the guilt is.
The main character is Alexandra Owens. She goes by Alex, and she’s played by Jennifer Beals. She lives in Pittsburgh–as if saying it in dialogue isn’t enough, she’s a steelworker, but she’s pursuing the career of a dancer. There’s nothing unintentionally funny in the script. Strange, right? And not that she enjoys the characterization that is considered ideal for a heroine, but she’s likable for her enthusiasm. Cameraman Donald Peterman would concur (let’s just say, he doesn’t look Beals in the eye while she’s dancing). Add the editing, and even a terribly cheesy movie like this one has a right to mise-en-scène. There’s an entire scene that may as well have been created from an epileptic LSD trip–try and count how many black frames are interspliced between tinted, dazed panning! Alas, there’s a reason it’s called Flashdance. It’s a double entendre, actually: dancers that show skin, in a flashy dance movie.