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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Musical Chairs
Directed by Susan Seidelman
Paladin 03/12 Feature Film
PG-13 language, some sexual material, brief drug reference

Armando (E. J. Bonilla) is a handsome Puerto Rican who loves to dance. He practices his moves in front of a mirror at home and tests them out on the street. For him, dancing is as natural and beautiful as breathing. Armando works as a handyman at a midtown Manhattan dance studio. He's entranced by one of the instructors there, Mia (leah Pipes), who comes from the posh Upper East Side and is preparing for an upcoming ballroom dance competition.

One evening he and Mia dance together. She is stunned by his fluidity of movement, his confidence, and his passion. But before their relationship can move to another level, she is struck by car. Armando visits her regularly in the hospital but is unable to pull her out of her feeling that her life is over now that she is confined to a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, Armando's take-charge mother Isabel (Priscilla Lopez) who runs the family restaurant is trying to convince him to marry Rosa (Angelica Zambrana). But when she meets Mia and sees how much her son is in love, she has second thoughts about her plans for him. Armando has come up with an idea that will enable both he and Mia to continue dancing together. It is a creative idea that has great potential for their future life together.

Musical Chairs is a feel-good romantic drama directed by Susan Seidelman from a screenplay by Mart Madden. The cast of able-bodied and disabled actors and dancers will win you over. But the main reason this movie touches our hearts is the stand-out performance by E. J. Bonilla as a caring and compassionate lover whose creativity and perseverance pay off in the end. Also, his passion for dance is totally endearing!

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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