Walker's Review: Mao's Last Dancer | KCUR

Walker's Review: Mao's Last Dancer

KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker keeps us up-to-date on current art-house showings

Director Bruce Beresford ("Tender Mercies") helms this rocky but ultimately moving drama chronicling the true-life journey of Chinese dancer Li Cunxin from his impoverished childhood in a rural village to a stint with the Houston Ballet. There are cliched moments you'd find in many a "coming to America" comedy but the film takes itself and cultural exchange seriously.

Though Chi Cao, who portrays Li, dances beautifully, he's not much of an actor; ?he's outplayed by the child actor who brings his boyhood to life. But there's a lot of heart here, and a terrific supporting performance by Chinese-American actress Joan Chen as his modest but protective mother- Steve Walker