The experience of watching a live Cirque du Soleil show is an oddly entrancing one; it’s as if you enter a dream world, filled with curiously rubber-limbed people who twist themselves into positions both beautiful and strange. “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” the new 3D movie, lets you enter that world without the high ticket price. You miss some of the thrill of seeing it live — the how did they do that? factor is lower — but the beauty remains.

“Worlds Away,” which combines elements from seven Cirque du Soleil shows, has a vague narrative thread — and, like the stage shows, virtually no dialogue. A waiflike young woman in white (Erica Kathleen Linz) attends a shabby circus one night and instantly falls in love with the aerialist (Igor Zaripov). Distracted by her, he slips from his trapeze and falls — not to the sandy floor of the circus tent, but through it, into a series of vivid new worlds. She follows him, and after 90 minutes of random but often mesmerizing dance/acrobat numbers, they are reunited in a romantic aerial pas de deux.

Though it’s rated PG, I’m not sure if “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” is ideal for children; there’s no specifically inappropriate material, but some parts are a little scary (it’s often quite dark in this world) and the trance-like mood may not suit young attention spans. (The almost-8-year-old attending with me pronounced it “interesting” but didn’t include the film among his favorites.) But for older kids or grown-ups who’ve dreamed of joining the circus, it’s a wildly imaginative treat. A young woman performs a delicate, twisting ballet on the edge of a small, round pool of water, as if dancing on the rim of a wineglass; a troupe of elaborately tendriled jellyfish do a water ballet to “Octopus’s Garden”; a tricycle pedals through the narrative, propelled by a pair of empty boots.

The final dance, by the girl and the aerialist, is at times achingly beautiful; it’s as if they are alone in the world, dangling from the stars.

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Moira Macdonald:

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