Strictly Ballroom

Scott is a champion ballroom dancer who wants to dance "his own steps." Fran is a beginner dancer who convinces Scott that he should dance his own steps...with her. Complicating matters are Scott's domineering mother, a former dancer herself, who wants her son to win the Australian Pan Pacific Championship (the same contest she lost years ago), and a conniving dance committee that is determined that "there are no new steps!"
Although the plot is relatively generic, the true originality of Strictly Ballroom comes from Baz Luhrmann's directing. As Australia is an immigrant country, a great deal of garishness flows from the Frankenstein blend of styles that, although refined in their home country, look out of place in Australia. In the peripheral characters, Luhrmann takes that garishness and exaggerates it while leaving the main characters relatively normal. As a consequence, unexaggerated cultural expressions in the main characters look refined in comparison to the exaggerated peripheral characters.
As well as showing refinement through comparison to garishness, Luhrmann also sees beauty in garishness itself. A hills hoist in front of an illuminated coca cola sign is not typically a scene imagined in a mills and boon novel. In Strictly Ballroom; however, it is a setting for one of the movie's most romantic scenes.
Strictly Ballroom was an extremely creative and pioneering movie. Unlike some of the Australian movies that followed it, its creativity was not aimless and merely for the sake of it. Like dance steps, Lurhmann showed that there is room for improvisation, but there is still a beat to be followed, a synergy to be maintained and one step that needs to follow another.