Movie Review: Desert Dancer is an inspirational tale as bland and forgettable as its title

Making a biopic about someone who’s still alive to see it must be tricky. There’s the subject’s feelings to think about, as well as the usual artistic considerations. And making a biopic about someone you admire must be even trickier. How can a filmmaker responsibly portray the complexities of someone’s life without obscuring their accomplishments—or, for that matter, whitewashing their flaws? An example of the latter is Desert Dancer, a film that reduces a politically-charged tale of artistic triumph in the face of oppression to a series of bland platitudes that wouldn’t be out of place on an inspirational poster on the wall of a guidance counselor’s office. In fact, the whole thing resembles nothing more than the kind of video a well-meaning high-school teacher would put on to occupy their class while they catch up on some paperwork. It will almost certainly …

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