Silver Skates Parent Guide
There's no hardcore bolshevism here: just romance and revolution lite.
Parent Movie Review
Unfairly fired from his delivery job, Matvey (Fedor Fedotov) urgently needs money. His father has tuberculosis and the only doctor who can potentially cure him is in Germany, a prohibitively expensive train ride away from Russia. In a last-ditch attempt to save his only parent, Matvey joins forces with a notorious group of fast-skating pickpockets who ply their trade on the frozen rivers and canals of St. Petersburg.
Alisa is also desperate. The nobleman’s daughter is beautiful, wealthy, and being groomed for life as a wife and social hostess among the kindgom’s social elite. But Alisa’s passion is science and she desperately wants to attend university – a dream that is considered unfeminine and possibly deranged by her society in 1900. As her options narrow, Alisa becomes increasingly rebellious, and then, one night, she finds a handsome young man on her balcony…
Silver Skates is both a predictable romantic drama and something new. The novelty stems principally from its Russian origin. Not only is this movie set in pre-revolutionary Russia; it’s a Russian production – and it was a runaway blockbuster upon its domestic release. As such, this is a film with Russian sensibilities and perspectives. Foreign audiences might be a bit mystified when the gang’s ringleader holds forth on the evils of capitalism and the need for the poor to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, but for domestic audiences with a communist legacy, such rhetoric is as familiar as talk of freedom and apple pie would be to Americans. Oddly enough, the tirades aren’t matched by disturbing images of the crushing poverty and oppression of the late czarist era. There’s no hardcore bolshevism here: just romance-and-revolution lite.
In terms of familiar elements, there are few surprises. Silver Skates is a wrong-side-of-the-tracks story where a couple of young lovers can’t be kept apart despite the roadblocks of family, class, and romantic rivals. The film often moves slowly – very slowly – and tighter editing would be a bonus. But the production is beautiful to look at with glittery winter scenery, elaborate society functions, and lovely period costumes. There are also plenty of exciting action sequences (including some amazing chase scenes on skates) which might mollify reluctant viewers who have been coaxed into watching by their moonstruck partners.
Parents considering the movie for family viewing will want to bear in mind that there are some scenes of plot-related violence. There is also one scene of premarital sexual activity in which a blurry shot of a woman’s breast is visible for a split second. In addition, main characters are shown intoxicated more than once.
Surprisingly for a romantic drama, Silver Skates slides some positive themes across the screen. Alisa’s passion for science and Matvey’s support for her goals is heartening. The film also provides strong messages about the power of people to change, to reverse course, and to become better. And, of course, for all romance fans, the film pays tribute to the power of love and sacrifice. This movie might not be the most enchanted romance ever to hit the big screen, but it manages to transmute a Russian winter into a wonderland, and that’s a magical achievement all on its own.Directed by Mikhail Lokshin. Starring Fedor Fedotov, Sonya Priss, Yuriy Borisov, Kirill Zaytsev. Running time: 130 minutes. Theatrical release June 16, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Silver Skates
Rating & Content Info
Why is Silver Skates rated TV-MA? Silver Skates is rated TV-MA by the MPAA
Violence: A police officer pushes a man with the tip of his sword. A man is thrown onto a garbage pile. A person dissects a frog for educational reasons. There are repeated scenes of characters picking other people’s pockets. There are several scenes of men having fistfights. A man is hooked with a pike and dragged across the ice. There are several scenes where firearms are used: in one a man is shown with a bloody bandage on his leg. Books are thrown into a fire. A group of men set fire to a structure although they know people are inside. Men hit each other with flaming torches. A character holds a hostage at gunpoint. Gunshots are fired in a police operation: a man is hit, falls, and drowns. A man falls in the river and almost drowns and is shown dying in hospital.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss passionately at a bar. Men’s bare chests are seen as they bathe on the ice. A man is briefly seen kissing a woman’s clothed chest. A couple kiss and the man undresses the woman: sex is implied and there is a brief, blurry glimpse of her breast.
Profanity: There are a handful of minor curse words and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People frequently drink wine with meals and in social situations. Adults are seen smoking. A man drinks alcohol from a flask. Main characters become intoxicated on more than one occasion.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Silver Skates Parents' Guide
Silver Skates is a Russian film and gives an interesting Russian perspective on their history. The Communist Revolution took place in Russia 17 years after the time frame of this film. To what extent does this storyline justify the revolution or discredit it? To what extent do movies in your country reinforce beliefs about your own history? To what extent do they challenge those narratives?
Matvey tells his father that only the rich can afford to be honest. What do you think of the justifications Matvey and the other pickpockets use as they steal from the people of St. Petersburg? Have you ever rationalized doing something you knew to be wrong? What changes Matvey’s perspective? Have you ever changed your mind about your own behavior?
Related home video titles:
If period films about the lives of the uber-rich appeal to you, you will likely enjoy Downton Abbey, capstone of the long-running TV series.
For more magical (and deeply strange) winter romance, you can watch A Winter’s Tale, the story of a thief who falls in love with a wealthy young woman.
A real life woman struggles to make a career in science at the turn of the century in Radioactive. This biopic of Marie Curie follows her revolutionary discoveries and the opposition she faces from the scientific establishment.