Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Bursting with raw talent and intelligence, Raya Green, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, has always been the family’s one great hope. She won the rare chance to break out of their drug and crime-infested neighborhood when she was accepted into the exclusive Seaton Academy. But when her sister dies of an overdose, the family is shattered and Raya is forced to return to the place she tried so hard to escape.
    It’s not easy to go back – especially when one-time friends, including the tough minded Michelle, see Raya as a stuck-up traitor who left the community behind. Feeling trapped and looking for a way out, Raya learns about a step competition with a $50,000 cash prize that could change her fate. Most of the crews that win the big money are all male, forcing Raya to fight her way in as the sole female member of the Jane Street Junta, led by the reining champ of the local steppin’ scene Bishop. As sparks begin to fly between Raya and Bishop, a false move by Raya leaves her without a crew, and she finds herself in a battle between her loyalty, her determination, her family’s ambitions and her heart. As the big contest approaches, she realizes it’s no longer just about the money or the opportunity, but also the one thing that she’s been missing in her life: a sense of self. (Paramount Vantage)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Mainly it’s a very solid dance picture, which is the point.
  2. Choreographer Hi Hat and director Ian Iqbal Rashid kick the film into high gear every so often with dance sequences, climaxing with a dance-off in Detroit that seems too short.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    There’s nary a twist you don’t see coming. But the film’s strong acting, spectacular dance routines and culturally specific details turn clichés into catharsis. It’s the sort of film that sends you home with a spring in your step.
  4. There's tremendous energy in How She Move, so much that the audience can't help but be swept up.
  5. 63
    Formulaic but well-acted variation on the theme of pursuing your dreams through dance.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    When the cast starts clomping atop a car, their synchronized bodies joining with the booming cross-rhythms, we're sold.
  7. 50
    The film's good intentions gradually get lost in a sea of overwrought contrivances, stock characters, awkward cameos from B- and C-listers (R&B singer Keyshia Cole and not-so-funnyman DeRay Davis) and warmed-over family issues.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. [Anonymous]
    Jan 25, 2008
    It is pretty good as dance movies come and the dancing is soooo good I would recommend it! (it helps that the acting is good).
  2. MelodeeG
    Jan 29, 2008
    Great film with a fresh and talented young cast and electric dance sequences! Way to go, Canada!!
  3. ChadS.
    Jan 26, 2008
    If the movie world offers a glimpse into the everyday realities of our culture, then by all appearances, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech has been co-opted by today's black youth and applied to their goal of capturing first place in step-dancing contests. Nobody is going to finance a movie about a black girl who can cut up a cadaver, so "How She Move" offers this compromise: Raya is a pre-med student who can cut up a dance floor. When Michelle(Tracey Armstrong) invites Raya (Rutina Wesley) to join an all-girl step team, "How She Move" could've been a battle-of-the-sexes movie, since we are told that all the top money goes to the men. But Raya is no feminist; she's an opportunist, a girl who has grown accustomed to being on her own(Raya was a black girl in a predominantly white boarding school). She convinces Bishop(Dwain Murphy) to sign her up for his crew, in a scene reminiscent of "Grease"(a step-dance reinterpretation of the John Travolta/Jeff Conaway number "Greased Lightning"), and double-crosses him when her self-assertiveness(due in part to her educational background) butts heads with the patriarchal rules of the ghetto(even a Canadian ghetto). "How She Move" concludes tidily, but at least the story throws more obstacles in front of its inevitable happy ending. "How She Move" is also hindered by a heroine who doesn't really need to win the contest. The more you scrutinize Raya's actions, the more you realize that she's only in it for herself. Raya's no saint; she's a flawed person, which makes "How She Move" infinitely more interesting than last year's "Stomp the Yard". Expand