Movie Review: Hans Christian Andersen

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Definitely OUR kind of movie: Powers of two, musical with great and memorable songs, precocious kid who takes care of his imperfect father (figure), fairy tales, impressive dance, classical music. What’s not to like?

Powers of two
Inchworm is a song for the ages. It helped our kids learn the times twos, plus, it’s sad and funny and about nature. John Leithgow’s performance of this is almost as good as Danny Kaye’s is in the movie.

Songs and music by Frank Loesser, who also wrote Guys and Dolls (another favorite).

Precocious kid
Every child-like adult needs one, and anyone who writes fairy tales this good is obviously child-like, despite how nearly universally sad those tales are.

Fairy tales
You know that we are obsessed with fairy tales, right? Although, because H.C. Andersen’s are just about unremittingly depressing, although beautifully written, they are not our faves. The ones featured in the film are mostly the happier ones (The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina). The Little Mermaid is featured in its gorgeous, original (un-Disney-fied) sea-foamy format and presented as a simply beautiful ballet.

Impressive Dance / Classical music
The movie does not stay true to Andersen’s life. One of the ways it diverges is by making the object of Hans’ desire a ballerina with the Royal Danish Ballet. One of the dances is performed to one of the pieces my daughter is currently learning — Shubert’s Rosamunde Overture. We wished they’d danced all night. What was the stage designer thinking with that marriage of puce green and purple in the first dance though?

Highly recommended.

If you have kids, you want to own this movie and help support our movie habit.

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