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By Patrick Samuel • April 13th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Paramount Pictures

Original release: April 15th, 1983
Running time: 95 minutes

Director: Adrian Lyne
Writers: Tom Hedley, Joe Eszterhas

Cast: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Sunny Johnson, Kyle T. Heffner


Have you ever had a dream that you’ve dreamt your whole life, but something keeps holding you back from making it real? More often than not, that something is usually us; we’re sometimes so scared of failing, of screwing it up, that we convince ourselves we’re not worthy of making our dreams real and we end up settling for things instead of fighting for them.

That’s what came to mind when I finally got around to watching this infamous 80s dance movie. Famed for its dance routines and Jennifer Beals’ skimpy outfits, Flashdance is a film I found entertaining, not just for its music but the warmth and beauty Beals brought to the table with her role.

She plays Alex, an 18-year-old who works two jobs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During the day she’s a welder in a steel mill but at night she’s a dancer at Mawby’s bar. Swapping her gloves, overalls and safety glasses she dons an array of outfits as she performs for a hungry crowd, but this isn’t the life Alex has always dreamed about. Far from it.

What she really wants to do is enrol in a prestigious dance school, the fictional Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory, but without any formal dance training she’s afraid of what the audition will be like and she keeps putting off applying. As well as that, she’s very much aware of how the other girls at the school look down their noses at her, as if her obvious working class lifestyle automatically disqualifies her from being there with them. Still, getting into the school will be a step on the ladder for her to pursue dancing professionally.

While dancing at the club one night, Alex catches the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), her boss at the steel mill, who’s surprised to learn she’s one of his employees. Though she keeps her distance from him at first, she eventually agrees to go out with him, but their affair is tempestuous one. First she spots him taking his ex-wife out and then later on after convincing her to apply to the school, she finds out he’s used his contacts to secure her an audition.


Realising she hadn’t earned the audition based on her own merits, Alex ends the affair with Nick, but he accuses her of using him as another excuse not to go after her dream. She’s not the only one with a dream though. Her friend Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who wants to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian, although his jokes are really terrible.

What Alex is more worried about is Jeanie giving up on her dreams and ending up dancing in a sleazy strip joint but eventually she realises that she’s throwing away her own life as well. This is feeling is enforced when her elderly friend and long-time mentor,Hanna Long (Lilia Skala) passes away. The film comes to an end with that wonderful scene where Alex walks into the studio for her audition and dances her ass off to Flashdance… What a Feeling, written by Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey, and Irene Cara, and performed by Cara.

With its powerful lyrics, commanding listeners to “take your passion and make it happen”, it brings the film to a perfect close, even though we never actually find out if her audition was successful. Still, it’s trying what matters, and even if you fall, you get up off the floor and try again, which is what makes Flashdance such an inspirational and memorable film from the 80s.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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