This movie is based in the early 1920s. It's about a Kansas woman who goes on a life changing journey when she accompanies a young dancer who seeks fame in New York City. What a talented cast: Miranda Otto as Ruth St. Dennis, Haley Lu richardson as Louise Brooks, Elizabeth Mcgovern as Norma, Blythe Danner as Mary O'Dell, Campbell Scott as Alan Carlisle, Victoria Hill as Myra Brooks, Geza Rohrig as Joseph, Matt Mcgrath as Raymond, Robert Fairchild as Ted Shawn, Jonathan Walker as Leonard Brooks, Andrew Burnap as Floyd, Nancy Ellen shore as Train Cafe Patron, Bill Hoag as Jack, Ellen Toland as Greta and Stan Demidoff as Flower Seller.
The introductory text says about an actress "...within a few years she was to become the most famous film star in the world...". This movie starts off in Wichita Kansas. There is a gala function on. Ladies are talking. They are dressed with upper class gowns from that period. They look very stylish. There is talk that a young lady needs a chaperone for a trip. Norma (played by the beautiful Elizabeth McGovern) shows interest.
Then we see this young lady (Louise played by the stunning Haley Lu Richardson). She is dancing in an audition. She has been accepted into a New York dance academy. The mother of Louise still needs a chaperone for her daughter. Norma has a chat with her husband about the possibility of being a chaperone.
Norma then visits the mother of Louise. They agree that she will be Louise's chaperone. Next we see Norma preparing her bags. Norma and Louise go on a train trip to New York city.
"A man (Norman) flirts with Louise and sits next to her. Mr Ross is his father and he also sits near them. Norma doesn't like this situation one bit. Later that night she says to Louise 'Men don't like Candy thats been unwrapped' hehehe. It sounds kind of dated by today's standards but we all know what Norma is suggesting"Norma and Louise arrive in New York. They go to a dance school. Miranda Otto plays Ruth, the teacher. Ruth talks about the importance of dance. She also talks about the classical musician Debussy.
Norma goes to an Orphaneage in New York that she used to live in. She wants to know her birth parents but the admin woman there cannot disclose that information. Norma also has flash backs about her busband cheating on her. We then cut to the male dance teacher instructing his students. He wants Louis to steps up and be the lead dancer. She's beautiful, the camera loves her. Her face is beaming and gorgeous.
Norma and Louis go for ice cream. The waiter has the hots for Louise. Norma goes back to the orphanege and talks to a handyman called Joseph (played by the reliable Geza Rohrig). Joseph insists that they go for a drink. Joseph has a daughter. Josep allows Norma to go into the room where her file is. She finding what she needs. She gets an address and a name. Norma thanks Joseph.
Norma recalls again that her husband had an affair, you feel sorry for her during these flash backs. We cut to Louise dancing and the teacher wants her to lead again. She is definitely the most talented there.
"Louise and Norma then go to the theatre/show. The gowns the girls wear are beautiful and stylish. They enjoy the show. The singer sings 'I'm just wild about Harry' hehe. This movie is a fine period piece"Norma talks to Louis about how she met her husband. Louis thinks she married to young. Norma again remembers a fight she had with her husband after he cheated.
"Norma walks with Joseph, he buys her flowers. The flower man thinks that she's his wife. Simple, beautiful scenes like this make this movie special"Norma sets up a meeting with her real mother (Mary played by Blythe Danner). She meets her. They are both very tense and they have a chat. It's quite emotional. Norma finds out that she has a half brother and half sister. They don't know about her and the mother doesn't plan on telling her. Norma says "you don't want to know my address?". The Mother says "No". It's very awkawrd and sad. You feel for Norma. We cut to the dance school. The balet scenes are quite beautiful. Louise is doing great. The teacher says that she can provide his own chaperone. Norma gets quite strict with Louis at the ice cream store as she continues to flirt with the ice cream attendant Floyd. At night, Louise then flees her house to go to a club. Norma finds her and takes her home. Louise was out with Floyd. But she didn't do anything untoward. Back at home Louise admits to Norma that she's not a virgin. She had made love to her ex teacher in Wichita. Louise leaves for Philadelphia.
Louise gets depressed. Lloyd apologises to Norma for taking Louise out.
"Norma visits her ex husband. They chat. She can't get a divorce yet. There is tension in their discussion. Then Norma visits Joseph in his house. Norma kisses him and they make passionate love. This is a release for Norma and you feel happy for her"Louise comes back from Philidelphia. Norma says to her "Go and make your peace with him" about Floyd. Joseph is then kicked out of the Orphanege because they saw him with Norma.
Joseph visits Norma's house. Joseph explains that he was kicked out. Louise arrives and catches her with Joseph. Louise has a mischievous smile on her face, she suspects that Norma has been hiding something! Norma admits that she's been seeing Joseph. Louise is impressed. Norma goes to Kansas Wichita with Joseph and his daughter. She explains to him how its going to work with her existing family.
We cut to the future and Norma and Joseph are now old. They are having dinner with her ex husband and his partner. Norma visits Louise's house, she is also now older. In her past, Louise became a big movie star. But by now she stopped making films. Louise had came back to Wichita. Louise says "I'm too old". Norma wants her to buy a ticket to New York to restart her career. Norma gives Louise $100. On the walls of Louise's house we see posters of her as a movie star. These posters look cool and it makes you realise that she got quite popular.
Norma walks with Joseph and his daughter, relaxed. We see a black screen with white text saying that Louise became a writer. We then see black and white footage of Louise the actress. She looks stunning.
"Elizabeth McGovern puts in a powerful performance. Her character Norma is torn over a previous failed marriage and her foster child past. She re-discovers herself whilst being a chaperone to an up and coming dancer/actress (Louise). Norma cares for Louise and she wants the best for her. Haley Lu Richardson as Louise puts in her best ever film performance. She transforms herself in this movie. She is a stunning ditsy happy go lucky gal brimming with confidence"The supporting characters are also in fine form. Miranda Otto (Ruth), Blythe Danner (Mary), Campbell Scott (Alan), Geza Rohrig (Joseph) and Victoria Hill (Myra) all did a fantastic job. Enjoy the full 1hr 43min.