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Take the Lead Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… made me go 'Awwww!' … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 33

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Antonio Banderas is a charming and talented man, but in Take the Lead he lays on the old-world panache so thick - the accent, the flowery courtliness, the romance of romance - that he comes off like Dracula's metrosexual cousin.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    Things hold together longer than they would have without Banderas' commanding, committed performance.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie's best moments are between Banderas and the kids. When the plot shifts to reveal the students' back stories (one has a prostitute mother, another a drunken father), the story becomes a melodramatic rehash of other movies, like "Fame" or "Rent."

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Antonio Banderas is reason enough to see the movie.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Take the Lead reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

NYC high schoolers saved by ballroom dancing.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes some images of violence, as well as references to painful past deaths (two kids' siblings were killed in gang violence). A frustrated boy smashes his principal's car with a bar; a gun is drawn near the film's end, and a crew who deals drugs and stolen materials beats up their reluctant member (some blood visible on his face, as he finally makes it to the ballroom competition). The dancing is sometimes very formal, often very sexualized (especially the tango, salsa, and hip-hop moves). Characters deal drugs, threaten violence, smoke cigarettes, and drink.

  • Families can talk about the options available for the dance students. How might their dance training help them in other aspects of their lives (getting a job, looking after children and parents, continuing their educations)? How does the film set up a connection between their home-life conflicts and their work in the dance class?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Kids fight, resist authority, behave sullenly in repsonse to dance teacher's entreaties; teacher's bicycle is stolen (and at film's end, replaced); kids learn mutual respect; widowed teacher learns to open his heart to romance.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Movie includes several violent scenes, including an opening fistfight at a high school dance; an attack on a car with a bar; boy pulls a gun at the end and is beaten by his angry crew (slightly bloody imagery here).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Dancing is often sexualized (especially tango, salsa, and some hip-hop styles); an older man tries to seduce his girlfriend's adolescent daughter; romantic kissing by featured high school couple; the sight of an interracial couple dancing upsets white girl's mother.

  • language false3

    Language: Mild language by kids and also by the principal (dance teacher is very proper): one f-word; a couple of uses of s-word, "hell," and "damn," plus gender/sexual slang ("punk ass," "p---y," "ass") and other colorful phrasing ("screwed up," "I suck").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One boy's parents are alcoholics; another deals drugs; reference to "crack dealer."