User Reviews (13)

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  • As of now, the rating for this film stands at a mere 2.2, which is quite low, and there is one aspect that makes the low score highly suspicious. There has been some known controversy about the film. Some in the disability community were quite upset that more disabled actors were not used in the film, and may have tried to influence the voting. They perhaps were unaware, or perhaps deliberately ignored, the fact that the leading female character begins as an able-bodied dance teacher. The idea that actress Leah Pipes is unqualified to act the role simply because she does not really use a wheelchair is truly ludicrous. (I am disabled myself, so I understand where the objections are coming from, but I disagree strongly with them.)

    It is time this film received more exposure and that critical comment on it honestly reflected how well it is made, rather than reflecting biased attitudes. Films like this one, which has as its background the world of wheelchair ballroom dancing, are too important to let petty resentments get in the way of their appreciation.
  • Wonderfully funny, sad, charming, fresh story from a subject that could be maudlin. The writing and direction pack a wallop, the acting is superb--it's so natural that you might think you were eavesdropping on the family's life.

    Sit back and enjoy every minute and every character. Mama lovingly tries to run a family that is way beyond her power. Her antics with a spray bottle of potion add a terrific touch to the story. The music will have you bouncing in your seat.

    The two stars should not remain unknown for long--they are completely captivating. Two faces that you never get tired of looking at and which deliver believable emotions.

    The comic touches are frequent and laugh-out-loud funny and never in poor taste. Bravo to the actors, dancers, writer and director.
  • As a dancer and a New Yorker, I truly enjoyed this movie. I thought it was very touching and would recommend it to friends! They touched on so many different topics that were very sensitive and they did it with class and elegance. The film was also shot very well and I absolutely loved the music. Mario Grigorov is a genius and brought a personal touch to it. The film was filled with movement and made me want to dance! Overall I truly thought it was very well done and was a love story that could transcend any genre. I gave it a ten for many reasons and think many people will enjoy it. I know the director has done some really great movies and she can add this one to her arsenal.
  • A sweet and fun story, and a great performance by EJ Bonilla.

    Susan Seidelman delivers a heartwarming and beautiful love story full of energy, emotion and uplifting moments. Leah Pipes and EJ Bonilla have great chemistry and look like they're on their way to be stars.

    The dancing is well choreographed and the music is upbeat and exciting. Seidelman does a good job of balancing the sadness of the tragedy with inspiring scenes and a moving ending. The film has and amazing spirit and leaves you feeling happy and upbeat.

    I would recommend this film to everyone. It's a sweet love story and gives the audience a beautiful look into an unusual world of dance.
  • I had never heard of wheelchair dancing, but thanks to this film, I now follow these artists and athletes with great joy. I loved the film, loved the characters, enjoyed some belly laughs and came away with a bigger view of the world. The theme of tolerance and acceptance resounded with both audiences with whom I saw this film, at both the Cinema Society of San Diego, then again at the Young Leaders Film Festival at the La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego. The film was received with enthusiasm by both groups, comprised of people from teenagers to senior citizens. At the Young Leaders Film Festival, the filmmaker made a special appearance and captivated the crowd. I hope she will continue to pursue such quality projects.
  • I saw this film at the Woodstock Film Festival. Before I saw it, the whole premise of the movie sounded rather implausible to make a great film. But the director, Susan Seidelman surprises you every steps of the way. The amazing ensemble cast and funny jokes keep you entertained. And the film has some of the best dancing scenes in the recent years. I am not going to spoil it here, but you'll be surprised! The main character Armando, played by E.J.Bonilla is not only a great actor, but he has a charisma that carries the film. It's a story that could be easily turned into a soap opera, but Musical Chairs avoids every sentimentality and still keeps it emotional. In the end, the film is very uplifting. A beautiful film!
  • janinemscott24 September 2012
    A lovely story, well done! It's nice to see the good guys win for a change... There aren't enough stories of the underdog - working hard to pull thru. Direct this to those facing adversity, when they think the hill is too tall to climb... We'd see it again! The message - You don't need to spend a fortune to make a film worth seeing! Keep up the good work! A lovely story, well done! It's nice to see the good guys win for a change... There aren't enough stories of the underdog - working hard to pull thru. Direct this to those facing adversity, when they think the hill is too tall to climb... We'd see it again! The message - You don't need to spend a fortune to make a film worth seeing! Keep up the good work!
  • This film's plot doesn't stray far from the rom-com bible but it does the genre proud. It's also packed full of wonderful characters who breath lots of life into a solid script.

    This is a great date movie or would be fantastic on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It's like a good meal with a funny friend - familiar without being at all boring. And, yes, it has a message but it's not a "message movie." The filmmakers obviously set out to entertain and they do a great job of it.

    The cast is fun and very good looking. And several of the characters are fresh and new, particularly Chantelle (Laverne Cox) who steals several scenes. EJ Bonilla is fantastic as the lead and does a wonderful love- sick puppy face (without ever over doing it).

    Overall, a really enjoyable film that leaves you wanting to know what is next for these characters - as any good film should.
  • This is a movie from which you will learn something about people and about the heart. It is about music and it is about dance . It is about what can happen when a person suddenly finds him or herself in a wheel chair for the rest of their life. Director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan ) takes a screenplay by Marty Madden and somehow does a perfect casting job starting off with E.J Bonilla, a young actor who plays Armando with a flair for music, dance and the ability to project his intensity and his sincerity when he encounters Mia (Leah Pipes) a beautiful young dancer before and after her tragic accident. The story flows as smoothly as the music and the dance of this film. Most of the rest of the engaging cast is this young man's New York Puerto Rican second generation family who owns a restaurant and especially his mother (Pricilla Lopez) who has to struggle with her aspirations for her son and her realization of his love for his new girlfriend. The other group of extraordinary colorful players in this film are the people in wheelchairs who find that they can express themselves in dance. In reality only one of the actors, Auti Angel, who plays Nicky is actually confined to a wheel chair. She was a promising professional dancer who has a true story that is not too far from the plot of this movie. Behind the scenes we understand that she assisted and inspired the actors in wheelchairs to take on their personas. We view this movie as fairy tales where things happen and people say and do things not quite the way they may happen in real life. It reminds us of a musical where it can be convenient to suddenly find a place to sing (or in this case a hospital gym at night to dance in a special way). The characters and some of the dialog are somewhat clichéd. This doesn't seem to really matter because the emotion and the message of the movie is very real. We think everyone should be able to relate to this film and learn something about the human spirit. We also think that it has the potential to live on by teaching young people in schools and be an inspiration for the thousands of people every year who find themselves in a place they never thought they would be. Part of the storyline of the movie is a dance contest being held in New York labeled "The First International Wheelchair Dance Competition" In reality, while wheelchair dancing is big in Europe it hasn't quite caught on in the USA. It would not surprise us if after this film is released and gets around we will see this event in some major city. That is part of the great potential of this movie.
  • I fully enjoyed this movie. It is especially uplifting during the holidays which can be a rough emotional time for many. This story gives us some perspective on how hard life can be for many. Although this beautiful love story encounters elements of tragedy, the plot is realistic with a current NYC feel. The actors face adversity and push on as it leaves you with a positive feeling and helps you to remember that in life, as Armando's father says "when you are old...its the struggles you miss the most". I always enjoyed watching dance movies. I have two left feet and perhaps can aspire to live vicariously through others that dance well. I promise you will enjoy your two hour investment of time. There is a little something in this movie for everyone. The cinematography was great and music stimulating. The storyline and plot was constantly moving and I was left wanting more. Great performances by the actors especially a personal favorite of mine, Laverne Cox.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film captures the challenges of spirit, hope, diversity and love. The actors light up the screen, the script is well written and the direction shows heart.

    I'm a fan of Laverne Cox - she's an actress who works hard but makes it seem natural. Also a very brave actress who challenges us to listen and learn from a woman who has a message for the world. Only she can tell it.

    The NYC shots were fun as were the portrait of Puerto Rican culture in NYC.

    The choreography wasn't too showy, a la mode for film.

    Stereotypes and minority portrayals are brilliantly written and broadcast with sensitivity and accuracy. The scene when the costume crew enters the hospital could have easily gone wrong. It didn't
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've been a fan of dance for my entire life. From as long as I can remember, I've taught myself to dance by watching old VHS tapes of Michael Jackson, movies that starred Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and concerts of Motown legends that showcased a lot of dance numbers. Later in life, I even took some classes to learn how to move better. Needless to say, movies that involve dancing make me happy. I'll rephrase that. Movies with a great plot, solid acting, and great direction that involve the art of dance make me happy. I will leave the 'Step Up' films on the side of the road any day.

    However, with this film by Susan Seidelman called 'Musical Chairs', this is one dance movie that you can add to one of your favorites, despite some of its clichés. Seidelman has rounded out her movie with an amazing cast and a good script that tells the story of love, tragedy, and dance, all from a beautiful perspective. Unfortunately, 'Musical Chairs' only came out in a few theaters across the U.S. during a weekend when a big blockbuster movie came out. Almost no critics or the viewing public saw this movie and thus, it was swept under the rug very quickly. Luckily for us, HBO is giving it a run on their cable network to give this great film its deserved spotlight.

    The film is set in New York and follows Armando (E.J. Bonilla), who is a man who has a passion for dance and wants desperately to do stage work, but can only find custodial work at a local dance studio to make ends meet and possibly get his foot in the door. While working there, he takes notice of the beautiful Mia Franklin (Leah Pipes), the star ballroom dancer who is secretly having an affair with with studio owner Daniel (Philip Willingham). Mia catches Armando dancing by himself one day and sees that he is actually quite good and gives him a few lessons.

    One day, Mia leaves the studio and ends up getting hit by a taxi, which leaves her a permanent paraplegic. Being madly in love with Mia, Armando persuades her and a few other people in the therapy hospital to join and compete in a wheelchair ballroom dancing competition. I know, this has Oscar written all over it, right? As Armando and Mia are falling love with each other, Armando's mother would rather see her son with another beautiful girl without a severe handicap, and she goes to great lengths to sabotage their relationship. Sometimes to comical outcomes.

    Through a lot of struggles, training, and dancing, Mia and Armando work towards winning that dance competition, but in fact, they might have already won, as they have found in each other their soul mate. I know it seems like there is a heavy layer of cheese throughout, but Seidelman's direction and Marty Madden's script hits the right steps every inch of the way, despite some of the clichés and story arcs you've seen in these types of romantic films before. Bonilla and Pipes give great performances and their chemistry on screen is infectious. 'Musical Chairs' is a very rewarding movie.
  • lindabatesfish17 April 2015
    I work with paras and quads, They need more movies that help make them mainstream. They can do amazing things if given a chance. I have helped people who were considered non-rehab-able to relearn how to feed themselves, talk, and propel wheelchairs even with one hand. Yes they are limited but we never know what potential they do have until we try. It is so rewarding the first time they call your name, brush their teeth, steer their chair, etc. I just cannot say what it takes and how good everyone feels when a goal is reached and someone is able to unlock a talent and shine. So many of us need to adapt to their needs and abilities and HELP them reach their potential. This movie touches on this need. I say Yeah! A wheelchair is not an obstacle it is a tool for us all. I think the sensitivity of Armando was wonderful. He did not give up. And he was correct. When Mia fell out of the wheelchair he picked her up and kept on going. That is the point. We need to be an inclusive society and try very hard to make events like the Wheelchair Ballroom dancing work. Loved it.