Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow
Director: Herbert Ross
Running Time: 110 mins
Footloose is an American film about a guy who moves from the big city to a small rural town where dancing is outlawed. Frustrated with this lack of freedom, he sets about changing the town’s attitude to dancing.
This may be a cool, hip film, but it also feels like it’s lost in time. Footloose is set in the 50s, yet feels distinctly 80s, and that clash of time periods does become frustrating on occasion. Despite that, with a great soundtrack and a strong rebellious feel, Footloose is a lot of fun to watch and dance along to (if you feel like it).
So, the biggest praise that I can give this film is that it fulfils exactly what it aims to provide. An undoubtedly entertaining movie that gives you a great musical experience, and also makes a strongly rebellious and energetic atmosphere around the lead characters’ efforts to combat the ban on dancing.
The performances here are all pretty good. Kevin Bacon is really likeable in the lead role, and his dancing’s not half bad either. Meanwhile, supporting player Lori Singer ramps up the rebellious vibe of the movie brilliantly, whilst John Lithgow, who plays the town’s conservative reverend, is great too, and a really interesting ‘antagonist’, something that a lot of 80s teen movies didn’t ever manage to do too well.
The story’s good too. Of course, some parts are extremely cheesy as the young people of this small town campaign for their right to dance, but the rebellious aspect that revolves around them for the majority of the film is very interesting, and the way that Kevin Bacon’s character both develops and changes the rest of the town was also entertaining to follow along with.
However, the one big issue with Footloose is how conflicting its portrayal of the 1950s is. Now, it’s never explicitly said that this is set in the 50s, nor does it say that in the official plot synopsis, but the look of the fashion and the rest of the production, as well as the entire plot, make it pretty clearly set in the 1950s.
But the soundtrack, the atmosphere and some aspects of the fashion are all distinctly 80s, and it really makes for a very awkward clash of time periods that does upset the balance of the film a lot. Like I said, this is still a fun film, but the confused time period is frustrating to watch throughout, and that’s why Footloose gets a 7.3 from me.