For ballerinas and ballerina wannabes everywhere, "Leap" is a sweet inspirational story of 11-year-old orphan Felicie's (voiced by Elle Fanning) dream to become one. She and her best friend, Victor (voiced by Nat Wolff), leave their orphanage behind in the countryside of France and run off to Paris to make their wishes come true.
Based on an original story by Laurent Zeitoun and Eric Summer, who also co-directs with Eric Warin, "Leap" reminds us that with a little luck --- and a lot of hard work --- our goals can be realized. Upon arriving in Paris, Felicie and Victor get separated, and Felicie stumbles upon the grand Paris Opera House which is home to the Opera Ballet School.
Without a place to stay, Felicie begs the crippled school custodian, Odette (voiced by Carly Rae Jepsen), for shelter, offering her help with the cleaning. Inadvertently, she intercepts the invitation for a spot in the school meant for spoiled Camille Le Haut (voiced by Maddie Ziegler), whose tyrannical mother, Regine (voiced by Kate McKinnon), is hell-bent on making sure her daughter earns the plum role as Clara in the "Nutcracker Ballet".
Felicie has never been formally trained, but with Odette's help and spirited instruction, she manages to up her game to compete with the devious Camille. Victor is on his own path to success as an apprentice for Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower.
"Leap", emanating from The Weinstein Company, is an homage to late 19th century Paris. The animation by L'Atelier Animation springs to life with the beauty of ballet dancing combined with a mindful tale about the rewards of pursuing one's passions. "Leap" is the first feature film for L'Atelier Animation, based in Montreal, Quebec.
Ballet dancing is extremely difficult and competitive, like so many things in life worth persevering. And the final "dance off" between Felicie and Camille proves once again how sophisticated animation has become.
Though "Leap" does have its share of silly moments, overall it is delightful entertainment for young and old alike, especially those of us who have been lucky enough to have a little ballerina in the family. And Carly Rae Jepsen fans will appreciate her featured song "Cut to the Feeling".
Opinion: See It Now! --- calling all ballerinas!