Review: 'The Aerialist'
The Aerialist is the sequel to the The Gymnast (2006).
It tells the continuing story of Jane Hawkins, played by Dreya Weber.
Jane’s nickname among her friends is “The Hawk.”
It’s befitting, since she is most alive when she is in the air performing the kind of breathtaking trapeze artistry featured in shows like Cirque du Soleil.
She’s incredibly talented.
But she is also in her mid-50s, struggling with the issues of aging, physically, professionally and emotionally.
In The Aerialist, she is part of a dance group about to embark on what might the final tour of a fading rock diva.
The producer of the show wants to cut costs which leads to the replacement of a beloved boss with an unscrupulous, unlikeable younger director brought aboard as a hatchet man.
Before long, Jane’s friends are quitting the show and she is pushed to the edge of her physical limits in an effort to make her leave as well.
On one level, The Aerialist has the staple elements of many formulaic show business stories.
It’s the dark side of an ugly business, made even uglier when you realize that you may be slipping beyond your prime.
There is a mystery element to the story as well, with the appearance of a young, attractive, athletic-looking female reporter who claims that she wants to write a feature piece about Jane and her career.
We discover that Jane once had aspirations to compete in the Olympics. Dreams that were never realized.
But we wonder about the real motives and intentions of the reporter and what she’s really up to.
It all makes for a reasonable plot.
The problem here isn’t the story so much as the performances. Not horrible, but not notable.
The exception is Dreya Weber, who is fascinating to behold.
She’s in incredible physical shape. She’s strong and elegant.
When she’s rehearsing and performing the aerial acrobatics, she appears to be half her age, her long blonde hair flowing in sync with her balletic graceful moves.
Her strength and resolve shine through the dramatic scenes as well.
She’s the centerpiece of The Aerialist and makes it worth watching.
There is a sequence in the movie showing Jane in her youth, performing gymnastics when she had the power and strength of a body builder.
It’s a show stopping moment and I suddenly found myself wanting to know more about Dreya Weber.
It occurred to me that her real-life story might easily eclipse this fictionalized depiction of her movie counterpart Jane Hawkins.
As it turns out, Weber is an accomplished aerial performer and choreographer whose resume includes her work with artists like Pink, Cher, and Taylor Swift.
I could be wrong, but a documentary about Weber tracing her colorful career, supported by interviews with her celebrity clients and fellow dancers and collaborators would seem to be a sure-fire success.
The glimpses of her in The Aerialist attest to the fact that she is a remarkable woman with a really ineresting story to tell.
The Aerialist was written and directed by Ned Farr, her collaborator on several other films including The Gymnast and A Marine Story (2010).
I would love to see a film about Dreya Weber’s life story.
If they ever get around to making it, I’ll be sitting in my favorite aisle seat with my popcorn and Coke.
The Aerialist launches exclusively on Amazon on June 5.