County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy's poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferred to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey, encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother's opposition to indispensable support. Written by
Jamie Bell was going through puberty at the time of filming. Some of his dialog had to be post-synched as his voice had broken. And the opening scene in which he jumps up and down on a bed to T-Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" was shot over a lengthy period of time. For the latter takes, Bell had acquired hair on his legs and had to have them shaved. See more »
Police cars shown during the miners strike confrontation scenes appear to be from around 10 years prior to the '84-'85 strike. See more »
[Billy is dancing while walking]
Is that absolutely necessary? Walk normal!
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I have been looking for Billy Elliot for more than two years. I heard that it should be very good or even excellent film and another reason for watching it was that I have seen several Working Title films before (About a Boy, Notting Hill, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and I found all of them much more sincere and emotional than average Hollywood products. Also these British films have something to offer that you rarely can find in Hollywood movies: a charming heartwarming mixture of sweet and funny comedy and inspiring and touching drama. Last month, finally, I found the tape. From very first moments of the movie my eyes were riveted to the screen and when the movie ended feelings and emotions overflowed me. Billy Elliot in my opinion Billy Elliot is a brilliant movie, easily one of the best movies of the year and most likely of the current decade.
Director of the movie Stephen Daldry brought to us an exceptional, truly inspiring and moving, emotional and poignant movie. The entire story and all the characters are completely believable and the atmosphere of small provincial town somewhere in North-Eastern England skillfully captured and transmitted to us. Sometimes the movie is sad, sometimes it's funny but Stephen Daldry's work never leave you indifferent. The story occurs in a small coal-mining town in 1984 and there are signs of a severe depression all over the town. You can see all around a shadow of distress and even poverty. Some simple but incredibly powerful scenes bring to us sad feeling of hopelessness and even despair. There is a big coalminers strike in the town but it's easy to see that it's also the hopeless strike. But all this is only a masterfully recreated background for main story of the title character, a twelve years old boy. He recently lost his mother and both his father and elder brother are striking coalminers. Billy is forced by his father to attend boxing classes and one day accidentally he see the girl ballet classes that occur in same room and he find ballet much more interesting than hated stupid boxing. So he attends those ballet classes instead the boxing and there is nothing surprising that after a few weeks his father suddenly finds out that Billy didn't attend boxing and worst of all he is attending the ballet classes. The main conflict occurs.
Billy must fight for his choice, fight against his own family. There are two stereotypes against him. First one is that ballet for girls, not for boys (lads do football... or boxing... or wrestling). And second sounds even worse: all male ballet dancers are gays. Billy is not but no one from his family except aged grandma want even heard about ballet. There are only two people in the whole town, who support him middle-aged ballet teacher Mrs. Wilkinson and his friend Michael, who is the same age as Billy and who found that he is possibly a gay. This gay subplot easily became for conservative audience a very controversial question. But the fact is that such stereotypes are not invented by the director of the movie and if you would try to learn more about this terrific picture you will found that Jamie Bell, who took dance lessons from age six, suffered from similar sneers and taunts. Billy's problem is that he must fight not only against bad obstacles and misunderstanding but also against strong social stereotypes. Several brilliant come scenes and bright humor greatly emphasize the struggles of the main hero.
Jamie Bell playing Billy has on of the best performances ever among young actors. His performance (and particularly dance sequences) is so genuine, bright and sincere that all the time we can easily feel an expression of a young boy, not a director, choreographer or writer. BAFTA award for best actor of the year is well-deserved and it is pity that conservatism of the Academy too often becomes an insuperable obstacle for many great movies. Julie Walters (an Academy nomination for best supporting actress) as Billy's ballet teacher also did a great job as a talented woman as a talented women who forced to teach in small provincial town for pitiful salary. The chemistry between teacher and student is another great line in Billy Elliot. Two other important supporting characters Billy's father and elder brother Tony are also excellent and their evolution is perfectly showed by Stephen Daldry's direction. The beautiful soundtrack is a perfect combination of a classic (including a nice reference to great Swan Lake) and modern music.
The original "R" rating shouldn't mislead you. Except for strong language it should be easily a PG-13. But this is a very rare case where some strong language and profanity are necessary for authenticity and characters understanding. The movie is suitable for teens and it definitely is able to give some good lessons for them.
10 out of 10 looks well deserved. Thanks for reading and sorry for my bad English
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