Welcome to the Norwegian world of dance in Battle. Amalie, like most teenagers, lives in a world where status matters. How you look, what you wear, how much money you have, all play a part in the pecking order of high school. But unlike other movies in this genre, the teens in question are less precocious and far more likable.
Amalie (Lisa Tiege) works hard to fit in especially when it comes to the prestigious dance school that she attends. But when her father goes bankrupt they two are forced to move from their palatial home. And so her new life begins a 2-bed highrise flat in a significantly less-desirable part of town. Hiding the truth from her friends out of embarrassment, she continues to pretend everything is normal.
Discovering a local youth centre, she befriends a street dancer named Mikael. Soon Amalie is dancing out of her skin, topping her class at school and on track for a coveted place in a Dutch dance school. But straddling two worlds is tricky and even more so if you are a 17-year-old girl. Especially if you are sort of dating two guys at once and then they meet!
Battle is a decent, if low-key, movie that explores the reality spinning a web of lies that finally catch up with you. When your life as you know is over and your friendships are tested, who really will be there for you. While it is definitely less contrived than other similar styled movies, the ending was a bit overly gushy and cringey compared to the rest of the film. That said it is a teen dance movie!
The acting is stellar and authentic and the dancing is good but overall the movie is just one note. It simply plods along with little or no real emotion other than one dramatic moment when Amalie's two worlds collide. Battle is a nice movie that strips away the glitter and glamour but it won't win any awards.