Shall We Dance? Japanese vs. American Version

 Shall We Dance? Was originally a japanese movie created in Japanese. It is a film about a Japanese man, unhappy with his mundane existence is drawn to a dance school by a beautiful woman he sees every day from the train looking forlornly out her window. He was drawn to dance by this beautiful woman, but eventually falls in love with dancing. His wife is afraid that he is having an affair since he stays out late and seems to be more happy, so she hires a detective to find out what he is up to. To be a dancer, especially a male dancer was not something looked well upon in Japanese culture. It was more of an embarrassment and something you keep a secret. He joins a ballroom dance class along with two other beginners and the fun begins. Eventually his dancing develops and he is entered into a composition where his wife and daughter surprisingly show up to. Eventually his secret is out and his beautiful instructor regains her love of dancing to compete once again in the Blackpool competition. It is story full of love, laughter and dance. Truly a delight to watch. 

 The American version starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez came later. It follows the same basic plot with a bit of a modern American twist. The differences between the two versions are not many, but they do make them different. I have seen both of these films before, first the Japanese version then the American version. I like the Japanese version for its peek into Japanese culture, but I still favor the American version. The two main reasons why I favor the American version is because I can watch it without having to read subtitles, unlike the Japanese version which is in Japanese. The second reason because I like the ending better in the American version. The ending is more developed and romantic. It makes me happy to see him reunite with his wife and dance with her. Both films are wonderful and the different characters are well-developed.


November 8, 2010. Movie Reflections.

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