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Mao’s Last Dancer tells the story of Li, a young boy growing up in a poor, rural part of China. One day government officials visit his little town to see if there are any young people there who have special talents and thus should be in special government schools. Li’s teacher tells the officials that Li is an excellent ballet dancer and thus Li auditions for the officials. They are impressed with Li’s talents and whisk him away and place in a special government training academy for dancers.

Li becomes to blossom at the Academy and his skills are noticed by everyone. An instructor visits from the Houston Ballet and is so impressed with Li’s abilities that he persuades the Academy to allow him to come to the United States for three months as a foreign exchange student.

Li falls in love with United States and with Elizabeth, another dancer at the Houston Ballet. He petitions the Chinese government to allow him to stay longer in the U.S. but they refuse to extend his time. Li and Elizabeth decide to get married because they feel if they so, the Chinese government will allow Li to stay. The couple marries and Li goes to Chinese consulate where he is held. There is a lot of media attention and the government feels as if it has no choice but to release Li and allow him to stay in the United States. However, they take away his Chinese citizenship and tell him he is never allowed to go back to China.

Li and Elizabeth end up getting divorced when their respective career paths pull them apart. Years pass, and Li’s popularity grows and grows. The Chinese government sees this and allows his parents to visit the U.S. to see him perform. The family is reunited. Li ends up remarrying and has three children.

| 2010 | 1 hr 57 min | 7.3/10 | 55/100
Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Penne Hackforth-Jones, Christopher Kirby
Bruce Beresford

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