Ice Girls Demonstrates The Cutthroat World of Ice Skating
Competitive figure skating can be a cutthroat sport disguised in sparkly costumes and flowing choreography. It's also extremely popular to watch all over the world. To this end, there have been numerous movies made about figure skating, including Ice Castles, Ice Princess, The Cutting Edge and the wildly popular spoof Blades of Glory. Adding to this ever-growing list is the TV movie - out on DVD this month - Ice Girls.
Mattie (newcomer Michaela du Toit) is a promising figure skater who loses her shot at corporate sponsorship and sectionals when she falls at the regional event and injures her knee. At the same time, her mom, Kelly (Lara Daans; Sacrifice), loses her job and the bills start piling up. When they get evicted, they pack up and head to live with Kelly's Aunt, 4 hours away.
Once there, Mattie is befriended by a figure skater named Heather (newcomer Taylor Hunsley), who is a national champion hopeful whose mother (Natasha Henstridge; Species) pushes Heather to the brink of a breakdown. When the skating rink owner, Mecury (Elvis Stojko; Ice Angel), offers to pay for Mattie's treatment and train her, Heather sees it as a betrayal and the two girls become enemies.
Written by one of the movie's stars, Daans and Director Damian Lee (A Dark Truth) the script is cheesy and predictable. The characters aren't well fleshed out, which left the audience with questions, but I guess you can only fit so much into a two hour television movie which really boils down to 90 minutes when one accounts for commercials.
The acting is mostly cringe worthy, as many of those chosen for the parts were done so more for their skating abilities rather than their acting talent. Henstridge was the only one I immediately recognized besides having the nagging feeling I knew who Mercury was. It wasn't until the end credits that I discovered that it was 2 time Olympian Figure Skater Stojko.
The production was obviously made on a shoestring budget with very little allotted for music (besides a selection from Swan Lake) and Mattie's skating costume was beautiful compared to Heather's black swan outfit that was awful and looked like it was going to molt off her right there on the ice.
Interestingly, in true "happy ending" fashion, the ending weighed in (spoiler alert) Mattie's favor despite, the fact that Hunsley is a more talented skater than du Toit. I found that one point to be particularly annoying, as it made the movie unbelievable even though it is actually based on real life events. I suppose the real Mattie is a better skater than Heather and I wonder who the film is based on.
The DVD offered a digital code, but no extras at all, and it's a shame the video wasn't filmed with higher quality resolution, as some of the Canadian scenery was beautiful to see.
For those who love a cliché movie about struggle and beating the odds, especially in the world of figure skating, this one is right up your ally. I will say the two bright spots were the chemistry between Hunsley and du Toit, which made their friendship onscreen more believable and the fun of the quirky Car Dealership owner played by Sandy Jobin-Bevans (Life with Boys).
If you have a tween, aspiring figure skater in your life they may enjoy this sappy tale, but for most adults it will be an hour and a half not especially well spent.
About Allison Skornick-Rose
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