This is a charming little animated film that's not Disney or Pixar,
but produced by a Canadian and French team, headed by co-writer and
co-Director Eric Summer. Though
the plot is predictable, and it's set in a context not precisely
historical, still, it has passion, pathos, artistry, and humor.
It's a delight for the young and the young in spirit.
Felicie (the voice of Elle Fanning) is a little orphan girl who
dreams of dancing. She lives
in a Normandy orphanage, where her best buddy is Victor (the voice of Nat
Wolff), a friendly, high-energy, talkative lad who brightens Felicie's
life with his quick wit and loyal friendship.
But they both have big dreams (he wants to be an inventor), and so
they conspire to flee the orphanage, and they make it to Paris, circa
1887. Here, the Statue of
Liberty is being constructed, along with the Eifel Tower (never mind about
the slight timeline inaccuracy). Paris
is a bustling, proud, cosmopolitan city, before the violent 20th
century that would bring two devastating wars to its doorstep.
Felicie manages to befriend a housekeeper/cleaning lady, Odette
(the voice of pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen), who manages to overcome her
own broken dreams enough to help Felicie with hers.
Victor, too, manages to find himself an internship in the workshop
of the great Bartholdi---well, cleaning up after the assistant, but
everybody has to start somewhere. There's
a certain irrepresibility to both of their characters, and we want them to
succeed, because they've tried so hard, and want it so badly.
But “Leap” keeps from sinking of its own emotional weight by
the buoyancy of its humor and its airy light-heartedness.
The dancing sequences are particularly graceful, the late
19th-century Paris is glowingly whimsical, and the overall effect is a