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YMMV / Ballet Shoes

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  • Adaptation Displacement: The 2007 film seems to be more well known than the book it was based on, possibly due to such a recognisable collection of British actors. Some people also forget that there was a film in 1975 as well.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Winifred is subject to this, especially in the 2007 film adaptation. She's seen as a Woobie because she loses the part of Alice to Pauline because the latter "looks right" and Mustard Seed to Petrova because she's late to her audition. However her tantrums at these things could be read differently. It's not as if Pauline isn't talented at all - she's just not as good at singing and dancing as Winifred but has good charisma as an actress. Winifred complaining that is has nothing to do with talent is incredibly rude - since she's not on the other side of the casting and she doesn't know what the directors thought of her audition. It may be that she felt entitled to the part because she's been the best at the academy for ages - and thus has never had to work for a part. And anyone in the acting industry will tell you that being late to an audition is a valid reason to be turned down. And when they say Pauline "looks right", they don't say Winifred is ugly. They just say that Pauline matches what they were looking for with Alice - who is commonly depicted as blonde in all the illustrations.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: In exchange for making Winifred rather meaner and brattier in the 2007 film, the story throws her a bone she didn't have in the book. When Pauline misbehaves, Winifred (as her understudy) replaces her as Alice for one night. In the film it's instead implied that Winifred will replace her for the rest of the performances. This at least gives Winifred some extra money for her family.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The 2007 film got a large amount of attention for one brief scene where Pauline and Petrova share a bath. Both girls are only shown from the shoulders up but some fans still went nuts at Hermione being nude.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Petrova seems to be the most liked out of the three sisters, due to being the biggest Woobie and The Un-Favourite, but also the most responsible and mature of the Fossils. For the 2007 film, Yasmin Page received the most praise for her portrayal of Petrova.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • Despite the Values Dissonance mentioned below, the book follows three young women who create successful careers for themselves - with no mention of having to marry husbands or anything like that.
    • The cast being full of different kinds of women enjoying fulfillment outside of romance and homemaking is also pretty progressive. Dr. Jakes, Dr. Smiths and Theo Danes, Madame Fidolia are all presented as admirable and complete people in the book without any aspersions cast on their having careers instead of husbands.
    • The fact that Petrova is at the heart of the book is also rather refreshing for a 30s children's novel. It is not just that she prefers engines and aeroplanes to dancing but that she is not put in the 'tomboy' box because of it: these are simply presented as a legitimate thing for a girl to be interested in, and her interest in encouraged without objection to her gender by friendly lodger Mr. Simpson.
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    • The adaptation actually arguably nudged things a little more towards the conventional by introducing romance for some of the single women, having characters comment more on Petrova's 'boyishness' and seeming to feel a need to justify the latter's interests and Mr Simpson's support (she has Amy Johnson as a role model and Mr. Simpson is pining for his dead son). It's probably more reflective of the fillmakers wanting to avert Aluminium Christmas Trees by pre-empting any doubts viewers might have about the reality of these plot points (i.e. reminding us that there were female pilots around at the time) and a greater emphasis on the adults' characters and story arcs than any less progressive attitudes held by the writer though.
  • Fanon: A large amount of fans believe that Dr Jakes and Dr Smiths are secretly a lesbian couple. It may be a case of Ascended Fanon that the doctors are all but stated to be a couple in the 2007 adaptation - the scriptwriter, Heidi Thomas, described Ballet Shoes are her favourite childhood book so any changes made come from the pen of an avid fan
  • First Installment Wins: The book had sequels but only the first one has received any adaptations.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The story ends a few years before World War II breaks out. In the 2007 film Mr Simpson is played by Marc Warren - who would also play a man experiencing the horrors of the war in Band of Brothers.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Pauline playing the Fairy Godmother in a production of Cinderella. Pauline's actress Emma Watson was one of the choices to play Cinderella in the 2015 live action remake. What's more is that the role of the Godmother in that went to Watson's fellow Harry Potter cast member Helena Bonham Carter.
    • Also Pauline wearing a blue gown to her film premiere is funny if you're aware of the fan backlash in the fourth Harry Potter film. In the book Hermione wears a blue dress to the Yule Ball but she wears a pink one in the film - and some of the fandom had a collective fit over it. So fans finally get to see Emma Watson in a blue dress after all.
  • Hollywood Homely: Petrova is referred to as the plain one of the sisters. This is achieved by dressing Yasmin Page down and giving her thick bangs. But notably whenever she's in her stage costumes she looks as cute as the rest of the girls. Winifred is a borderline example as she's said to not be ugly per se, just looking shabby at auditions due to her family's poverty. The actress is given an oversized dress with a few loose threads.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Winnifred is a bratty little thing but it's hard not to feel sorry for her when Petrova gets the part of Mustard Seed when Winnifred is too late for the audition (Petrova not even wanting the role) and she's only trying to earn money to help her family.
    • Posy is a brat as well but it's understandable. First of all, her mother abandoned her rather than simply dying like the other two's. Second of all, she's The Un-Favourite in the family, even though she's the most talented - since Pauline is the pretty one and Petrova still gets plenty of encouragement from Garnie and Mr Simpson. Madame Fidolia is the only one to actually take an interest in the girl and encourage her at all.
  • She Really Can Act: Since this was Emma Watson's first time as someone other than Hermione, she sparked these reactions from a few viewers.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Posy does act incredibly selfish when Madame has a stroke and therefore can't teach her ballet any more. But her ballet career is another way of bringing money into the house and she was going to get those lessons for free, so it's a huge blow.
    • Winifred reacts immaturely to Pauline getting the role of Alice over her, but then it would be upsetting and seem unfair to be told that you didn't get a role not because you did poorly, but because the other girl "looks right." Being twelve and becoming aware that you're ugly is hard enough- that it's a valid reason for someone less qualified to get jobs ahead of you, when you're desperate for work, must be heartbreaking.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Rather minor compared to how well-received the 2007 adaptation was. But a lot of fans didn't like Winifred's portrayal. In the book she's a straight up Woobie, while the film makes her considerably brattier - and also drops any reference to her family needing the money. Though ironically the film also gives her something the book didn't: a chance to play Alice for several performances, rather than just one night as in the book.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The book, published in 1937, uses a lot of language like "not really sisters" and "not your children" that many modern adoptive families would find heinous. Possibly- in a further example- the constant underlining of their origins, and never referring to Sylvia as their mother- is because it's preferable to anyone thinking that Miss Brown's daughters are her own, and illegitimate..
    • When Sylvia can no longer afford to send the girls to a prestigious private school, it never occurs to anyone to send them to a regular school instead. Rather they are kept at home and taught by their unqualified guardian until the doctors volunteer to teach them. The unspoken implication in the novel is that of course genteel young girls like the Fossils couldn't be expected to attend school with coarse working-class children. This is made more explicit in the 2007 film where the boarders speak of the awful accents the girls might pick up at a free school. And the lice.
    • A lot of Pauline's attraction comes from her natural blonde hair. In the 1930s hair dye was around but not common - so blondes were still incredibly rare. Natural blonde hair was regarded as one of the high standards of beauty.

Example of: