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Review: Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star

June 28, 2016

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Leslie Caron“I have a great deal of trouble imagining myself as an old lady,” Leslie Caron says at the start of Larry Weinstein’s documentary portrait Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star, and at 85 years old, the veteran actress appears as alive as ever.

Being interviewed at her home and at some of the famous locations from her films, the actress reflects upon her career, and how she was first discovered as a ballet dancer in France by Gene Kelly, and given her breakout role in his Oscar-winning musical An American in Paris (1951).

Becoming a star to try and gain the affection of her chronically depressed mother, Leslie Caron was brought into the American studio system, with her career highlights including being cast as the lead in the Oscar-winning Gigi (1958), and sharing the screen with legendary leading men like Fred Astaire and Cary Grant.  She received Oscar nominations for her performances in Lili (1953) and The L-Shaped Room (1962), which was groundbreaking for being one of the first realistic portrayals of a pregnant woman.

Leslie Caron still thrives in her work, recently being cast by her son Christopher Hall on the television series The Durrells.  Although brief at 52 minutes, Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star is a charming and entertaining overview of her career, that is worth seeing to hear this veteran silver screen star share stories from behind the scenes of her many classic films.  And she still lights up the screen.

Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star is having its world premiere tonight, June 28th, at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, followed by a Q&A with Larry Weinstein, as part of a spotlight on the Canadian director’s renowned documentary work.  Tickets can be purchased right here.

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