The low-key Canadiana of How She Move offers a pleasant surprise. Removed from the dance spectacles of You Got Served and Stomp the Yard, its naturalistic grit shakes conventions: It’s a great looking hip-hop movie. Director Ian Iqbal Rashid strays from the bright colours of those urban teen films, capturing his heroine’s pop dreams in a grounded reality. 


Played in a remarkably unaffected performance by newcomer Rutina Wesley, hardworking student Raya goes behind the back of her mother who wants to keep her off the streets that claimed her sister’s life. Raya gains standing with the kids in her district when it’s realized she’s a great dancer. This series of events is now familiar and Rashid and writer Annmarie Morais sometimes break their credibility with too many unmotivated drama-queen freakouts. But it’s the human approach that makes the material fresh again.


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