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First Position Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    First Position overcomes its predictable elements thanks to the inherent visual drama of watching children strain their bodies to the limit in obsessive pursuit of their goals.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Inspiring documentary about hardworking young dancers.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that First Position is a winning dance documentary that will have you on your feet cheering and clapping for its young subjects, all of whom are vying for prestigious scholarships and contracts after years of hard work, practice, and dedication (not to mention painful injuries). Not everyone gets to win the big prizes, but given how committed and giving all of the featured dancers are, they're definitely all winners. First Position will make you believe that hard work really does pay off, which is a great lesson for kids of all ages. While even younger kids will find much here to enjoy and inspire, the subjects' laser focus on their goals will be more relatable for tweens and up.

  • Families can talk about the kids who are followed in First Position. Is all their hard work worth the trouble? What do they get from dancing?
  • How does the movie depict competition? Does everyone approach competition in a positive manner? How do you cope with losing even when you try your best? How does losing teach you to be strong? And how might winning help you become more generous and sympathetic with other competitors?
  • Parents, talk to your kids about the importance of hard work and how to tell the difference between a hobby and a passion/calling.

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: First Position's main message is about working hard to achieve your goal. And your passion for that goal matters, too; it should be your goal, not someone else's for you. Also, don't be too hard on yourself -- young people should be their own best motivators and supporters, with parents coming a close second.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: The kids featured in this documentary are hardworking, dedicated, and single-minded in the pursuit of their dream. For the most part, their parents are well-meaning, too, though some moms and dads (and teachers, too) may place their own hopes and wishes onto their children.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: No violence, but the physical toll that ballet exacts on dancers is in full display at one point -- including bloody toes, cuts and scratches, brutal bruises, and actual injuries.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not applicable

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: One subject is shown with shopping bags from Victoria's Secret and the like. She's also shown shopping at Tiffany. Many dance companies are mentioned by name.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable