Movie Review: The Nutcracker (1993)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1993 movie starring Macaulay Culkin and Jessica Lynn Cohen.

Synopsis: Marie's godfather gives her a nutcracker during a Christmas Eve party and her brother promptly breaks it. After the party, she falls asleep with the nutcracker and dream her Nutcracker is really a prince and, after saving her from rats, transports her to his kingdom, where another party is being held.

Who's In It?


Mostly because the weather was pretty cruddy, my family decided not to attend Beaver Dam's annual holiday parade yesterday evening (it wound up getting canceled anyway) and, instead, opted to make a couple pizzas and watch a family movie. Since it was the first day of December, I decided to find us a Christmas movie and, when I came across this 1993 ballet on Netflix, it immediately became my choice. As it turns out, it was a good decision.

At first, I wasn't really sure if this is something my kids would want to watch with us. My youngest daughter takes dance lessons but is still at an age where non-animated movies don't always keep her interested. And, I wasn't sure if either child would be interested in watching a ballet rather than a regular movie.

However, both girls wound up loving this film. They liked watching the various dance numbers and were fascinated by some of the characters, especially Mother Ginger (Otto). In fact, my youngest was so excited by this movie, she was trying to do some of the dance moves she saw the ballerinas perform.

My wife and I also found we enjoyed this film. I thought it was a pleasant, family-friendly way to spend 90 minutes. I'm not a big Macaulay Culkin fan but thought he was an excellent choice as the nutcracker/prince (I didn't know he could dance). In fact, this is the first version of this ballet I've seen that used children for the nutcracker and Marie (Cohen) and I thought that made a nice difference.

Also, even though it wasn't traditional, I did find I liked having the narration from Kevin Kline because it explained some concepts I (and the kids) might not otherwise have understood just from trying to interpret the ballet, especially when it came to the characters that were supposed to be representing various forms of food and drink. It was something that will stick with all of us the next time we see this performed.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Angels and sugarplums. Candy canes and ice. A magic prince, a dreamy young girl, a mysterious old man and a Christmas tree that grows sky high. Enter the world of George Balanch...

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Final Opinion

I've seen this ballet performed live on multiple occasions. But, this filmed version was easily my favorite so far. I recommend taking the time to watch it this holiday season.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 12/02/2018, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/27/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here does have The Nutcracker amongst its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I expect to be watching this movie in the very near future.

IMDb mentions perhaps facetiously, quite skeptically in its parents' guide that perhaps the Battle of the Mice might be considered by some to be violent. How was the action in that part of the plot, and were the mice obviously children in costumes?

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