‘ICE CASTLES’ (2010)

February 6, 2014 14 Comments

Dreams are all a small-town Iowa native, dreams that are just out of her reach. With the raw talent of a champion figure skater, all Alexis Winston (Taylor Firth) has to nurture her love of the sport is a small pond near her rural home. A home she shares with her windowed father (Henry Czerny) and an aunt who encourages her to enter a nearby competition. Choreographing a simple routine in need of polish, Lexi doesn’t place but she catches the eye of an Olympic champion looking for his next superstar.

‘ICE CASTLES’ (2010). A small town girl dreams of being a figure skater only to be discovered by a man who believes he can mold her into one. © Rissi JC

Aiden (Morgan Kelly) believes Lexi can go places with the proper training. So regardless of her misgivings, not the least of which is leaving behind boyfriend Nick (Rob Mayes), Lexi leaves behind small-town charms for the big city of Boston.  Creating a stir that piques a media buzz storm Lexi becomes the new “it girl” of female figure skating. Life becomes a maze of photo shoots, press conferences, and interviews. In her pursuit to train harder, she lets go of relationships, and in a single moment, everything changes.

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As I don’t really know how the 70s version of Ice Castles plays out, I’ve no idea how the differences vary between the two. This is a dazzling joy to watch with interesting, profound messages of faith and love. The cast consists of professional skaters, and in a less prominent role, a professional who plays Lexi’s rival. With Taylor Firth’s casting, the skating sequences are real, unlike former motion pictures that try to achieve this effect. Everything about them radiates artistry; instead of fictionalized imitations we see authentic competitions full of beautiful athletic grace. Sure, there’s times when it looks less real, but for the most part, these sequences are impressive.

One would assume that by choosing a cast of athletes, the emotional (acting) side of the production would suffer. That is not the case with this leading lady. Taylor does a marvelous job. Being her first ever acting gig, one might question her ability, but she shines; her innocent, bubbly manners make Lexi an extremely likable and vulnerable character. What surprises me the most is how this goes against type by not creating a drastic character change (from circumstances). Rob Mayes isn’t a familiar name, either, but his Nick is good. I respect and appreciate how his character reacts to Lexi, he never gives up on her and more importantly he doesn’t let her give up. Their latter scenes together are heartbreaking and healing.

Some of the same people are back for the remake as the original, one of whom being the same director, Donald Wrye. The script is a sweet story that isn’t without deeper, more thought-provoking elements, some of which are unexpected (like the would-be jerk character actually caring).  Also, the costumes and choreography are so lovely; even the dramatic make-up jobs don’t take away from it.

Something about the production sparkles, from the acting to the scenery, everything is breathtaking. There’s heartbreaking moments that leave you wanting to cry but often transcend into instant instances of beautiful artistry. Of course, offsetting the tension is appropriate humor then there is the soundtrack of catchy pop tunes (most of which belong to Britt Nicole, a Christian artist), and something I rather enjoy about the film. She also sings the contemporary version of the award-winning song “Through the Eyes of Love,” in a memorable vocal performance.

Ice Castles is a delight; it’s really a winning score with so many emotional stimulates from the cast (all of the good kind) that it is viewed as nothing less than a bright spot of sweet sunshine on a winter day.   

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Ice Castles (2010) digitally on Amazon Video

Content: reacting to her accident, Lexi lashes out at those who love her most when adjusting to her handicap; there’s one instance of a “dramatic” scene with her father. Young loves kiss and roll around in the snow. Lexi becomes involved with her coach for a brief time, although there is nothing beyond kissing. The film is PG.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com February 6, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Cute review. I've been meaning to watch this one.

    • Rissi February 6, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      It's really cute, Juju. :)

  • Ella February 6, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Thanks for reviewing this, Rissi!
    I have wanted to watch it for a while but didn't know if this was any good.

    • Rissi February 6, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      My pleasure, Ella! I watched this one years ago and recently re-watched it thanks to the Olympic hype. :) It's really sweet if you like this kind of movie and one I don't mind watching now and again.

  • Kellie February 7, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    I LOVE this movie!! Especially the ending. ;)

    • Rissi February 7, 2014 at 12:17 AM

      Me, too, Kellie. It's SO sweet. Not sure why I don't watch it more often. :)

  • Ella February 7, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    You've made me want to do a rewatch. I like this one better than the original….just for the record ;)

  • Ella February 7, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    And I'm also bummed I can't find that final song anywhere!!

    • Rissi February 8, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      Good to know, Ella. I suspect given my track record with other old vs. new titles, I'd also prefer this one. It's just SO cute. :)

      …really?! That is a bummer. I love that song and the fact that Britt Nicole recorded the new version makes it all the more sad. Let me know if you ever find it.

  • Tressa S February 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    I haven't heard of this one, but now I'm going to have to find it to watch. Fabulous review! :)

    • Rissi February 8, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      It's super cute, Tressa. Hope you enjoy it if/when you see it. Thanks for reading! :)

  • Valerie February 11, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    This is a good one. I re-watched it last summer, and still enjoyed it the second time around. I saw the original probably 10 or 15 years ago, so it's not real fresh in my mind… something that really stands out about it was that Marilla from Anne of Green Gables was in it. Anyway, I'm quite sure I like the remake better. The original (from what I remember, anyway) had more of a somber tone, and the remake is more light and feel good.

    I almost always prefer remakes to the originals. Maybe because it just kind of updates things, bringing them into the current era so they are more easy to relate to. I do think, however, that I liked the original of Footloose better than the remake. But, that's getting way off topic.

    Anyway, Ice Castles is definitely a good one. And it does have a great soundtrack! :)

    • Rissi February 11, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      This was just my second-time through, Valerie though my reaction was the same as you; it was quite good and still very enjoyable. Really, Marilla was in the original? That's cool. I'll have to rent it just for the fact of seeing her in something else.

      Ditto. Usually I much prefer the remakes over their original – probably for the same reasons you state. I did love the remake of Footloose though. It. Was. So. Fun. (Not sure if I rented the original then or not… clearly, my memory is going. ;D)

      This movie is a good un. I love that there are beautiful moments even with the somber topic and YES, the music is wonderful. Of course, it helps that I was already fond of Britt Nicole's music.

  • […] cast as a matchmaker. (PG) You can rent or own I.Q. digitally on Amazon Video or find on DVD. 9. Ice Castles I’ve not seen the older adaptation of this film, but the 2010 version is sweet as it can be; […]

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