Girl’s tale tedious
By LIZ BRAUN — Toronto Sun
Madeline is an adolescent, a child caught in that curious place between girlhood and womanhood. Her coming-of-age experience is the centre of a new Canadian family movie called Dancing On The Moon.
Played by the exquisite Nathalie Vansier, Madeline lives in a small town with her close, loving, intact family. She expresses her youthful thoughts by secretly consulting with her unusually unattractive toy dog, Max. On his side, Max the dog responds with hideous little tricks and mimes, courtesy of dopey and unwelcome animation.
Madeline has an older brother and sister, a pesky but cute little brother, a jovial father and an endlessly smiling mother, none of whom have anything useful to do with the story except to behave in a fashion that hints at a Valium IV hookup at every bed in the house. But never mind.
Our plucky little heroine hangs out with her friends. She runs a relay race at school, and in slow motion. She wears an old-fashioned dress to Grade 8 graduation and looks sweet. A boy at school (Michael Yarmush) has a crush on her and follows her around, much to her consternation.
After a fair amount of this sort of breathtaking activity, Madeline’s daffy Aunt Ruth (Dorothee Berryman, The Decline of The American Empire) shows up, trailing around the house in long scarves and a cloud of cigarette smoke. Gosh, a bohemian. The other girls have begun to be interested in boys, but Madeline is more interested in the details of her aunt’s failed love affair. After much wooden dialogue, aimless wandering around, death-like pacing and that damned dancing dog, Dancing On The Moon moves to a tragic event that sends Madeline into adult life a bit faster than she might have wanted.
At least she responds. Everybody else in her close-knit, rural town behaves as if nothing at all has happened. Too stupid.
A heavy-handed entry from director Kit Hood (Degrassi High), Dancing On The Moon is co-written by Jacqueline Manning-Albert (who wrote the theme song for The Polka Dot Door) and produced by Rock Demers — Demers being responsible for some of the most tedious kids’ films extant. Dancing On The Moon is Demers’ 16th entry in the Tales For All series.
Is there someone out there who can explain why Telefilm and similar outfits continue to give my money and yours to such undertakings?