“Flashdance” is the first collaboration of legendary, Hollywood producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson; and Jennifer Beals appears in her first starring role where she plays a young lady who works as a welder during the day, and an exotic dancer at night.  Beals, whose entire face easily conveys all the emotions of the character she plays, dreams of one day becoming a ballet dancer.  To be more than what she is, to do more than what she does.  But she is afraid of her dream — afraid of trying, afraid of failing.

All around her, Beals sees people close to her who have tried to make their dreams come true but failed (her waitress friend who wants to be a successful ice skater; the cook who leaves for L.A. to be a comedian but comes back with his tail — literally — between his legs), and people who have achieved their dreams (an old woman who was a successful dancer when she was younger; and Beals’ boyfriend (played by Michael Nouri) who started his own business from scratch).   Beals is torn between going for it and possibly failing, or just dreaming about it and not have to worry about failure.

Hopes and dreams are what “Flashdance” is about.  Our need to want something better for ourselves, and the fear that often comes with those needs, because the bigger the goal, the harder it is to achieve; and, of course, the larger the possible failure.

The dance sequences in the movie are amazing, titillating in most cases, and creepy in one set (when Beals’ dance double moves to the song “Imagination”).   Oh, yes, Beals has a dance double.   More than one, actually.  In most of the dance moves, it is clear that Beals isn’t the one dancing.   Some of the clues to this are: the hair is different; the face is different (the dance double looks like Paul Stanley from Kiss — yikes!); and the sex is different.  What?  “Whoa, what was that last one you mentioned, Manny?” you ask yourself.  You know that breakdance move the character does at the end of the audition at the end of the movie?  That was a dude!  And I think you can see him (the double, that is) in the scene when Beals and her waitress friend are watching breakdancers do their thing in the middle of the street.

Doubles or no doubles, this is a very good movie; and my most memorable, movie moment of “Flashdance” is the scene when Nouri is trying to convince Beals to audition for a ballet school, but she refuses because Nouri used his influence to get her the audition, and she feels like she doesn’t deserve it.  But Nouri knows that Beals is only using this as an excuse to not go for it, because she is afraid of following through on her dream.   He tells her, “When you give up your dream, you die.”

1st runner-up for my memorable, movie moments of “Flashdance” is the scene when Beals is confessing to her priest about how she wants so much.  It is a simple and quick scene, but it packs a hell of an emotional punch because we’ve all had those feelings at many points in our lives.  Few of us have achieved what we set out to do in life, and most of us continue to want.

I am with most of you — I continue to want.   And I do try, many times, and mostly failing.  But things are looking up for me, and I hope for the same for all of you good people out there.

M

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