Take the Lead (12A) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

If your idea of a treat is Fame meets Strictly Ballroom, then knock yourself out. Antonio Banderas plays a dance instructor who persuades the headmistress (Alfre Woodard) of a tough New York high school to let him teach those sullen, disaffected kids in detention a bit of foxtrot, tango and waltz. And hey presto, the kids respond to his terpsichorean tutelage, work through their personal issues and enter the local ballroom dancing competition.

Antonio himself has impeccable manners, rides a bicycle to work - a friend to the planet, too - and dispenses maxims about "having the courage to follow your heart". If only all teachers were like him! But then, nothing about Dianne Houston's script suggests he might be a teacher, or even a human being; he's a saint in Armani. Take The Lead is based on a true story and is so inspirational you want to scream.

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