Square Dance

Watch Square Dance

"Sometimes leaving is the first step to finding home."
  • PG-13
  • 1987
  • 1 hr 52 min
  • 5.7  (1,058)

Square Dance is a coming-of-age drama film from the year 1987 that takes place in rural Texas. The movie is directed by Daniel Petrie and stars Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, and Winona Ryder in pivotal roles. The movie is based on a novel called "Savage Grace" by Natalie Robins. It tells the story of a young rural girl, Gemma, played by Winona Ryder, who lives with her eccentric grandparents Jabin, played by Jason Robards, and Queen, played by Jane Alexander. Gemma is a socially awkward and reclusive girl who's not interested in making friends in her small town.

As the film begins, it's clear that Gemma's estranged mother Lily is returning from a long absence to reclaim her daughter after a failing acting career in Hollywood. Initially, the reunion is uncomfortable, as Lily is much more glamorous and sophisticated than her rural relations. Gemma is torn between her loyalty to her grandparents and her desire to know her mother.

As Gemma's mother Lily is making efforts to fit in, to reconcile with her past and her roots, Gemma becomes more curious about life outside her grandparents' farm.

Gemma's newfound curiosity inspires her to attend a square dance competition where she meets Rory, a young aspiring dancer played by Rob Lowe. The two quickly become attracted to each other and start a relationship, making Gemma more determined than ever to escape from her mundane rural life and make a life for herself.

Despite her grandparents' efforts to protect her, Gemma breaks away and runs off with Rory, leaving the people who have cared for her all her life behind. The resolution of Gemma's journey is neither completely happy nor totally tragic, but something in between.

The movie touches on themes of class and culture clash, acceptance, family dynamics, and the struggle to find one's identity. The relationship between Gemma and her mother, who competed against Jabin in the local square-dance competition, tells of the uneasy relationship between urban and rural America. The story also deals with the disappointments of life and the nature of responsibility, as the young protagonist is forced to grapple with the consequences of her decisions.

One of the standout performances in the movie is delivered by Winona Ryder, who plays Gemma's character with great sensitivity and nuance. She portrays the range of emotions that a teenage girl goes through in a convincing way. Jason Robards and Jane Alexander are also great in their roles, bringing depth and subtlety to their characters.

The cinematography by Jan Weincke captures both the beauty and isolation of rural Texas, giving the audience a sense of place and the culture of that area. The film's score by Peter Frank DeVol is perfectly crafted and underlines the emotions of the scenes with a deft touch.

In conclusion, Square Dance is a memorable film that captures the essence of coming-of-age in rural America in the 1980s. It's a poignant and reflective story about family, identity, and self-discovery. Winona Ryder's performance in the film set the tone for her future career, making her a household name in Hollywood. The movie is a timeless classic that is still relevant today and can be enjoyed by all audiences.

Square Dance
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 52 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (1,058)