George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
Director Emile Ardolino's final film brings to the screen George Balanchine's famed ballet of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Balanchine's choreography has been restaged by the New York City Ballet under the direction of Peter Martins and features dancers Darci Kistler and Damian Woetzel as the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier. Unfortunately, it also features a smirking and incongruous Macauley Culkin as The Nutcracker. The familiar tale concerns Marie (Jessica Lynn Cohen), a young girl who, at Christmas time, is given a gift of a nutcracker by her godfather, a magician. She also meets his nephew (played by Culkin). When she falls asleep, in her peaceful Christmas Eve dreams, the Nutcracker is transformed into a prince who rescues Marie from a multi-headed Mouse King and takes her on a trip to the Land of Sweets. The film is narrated in hushed tones by Kevin Kline.