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Billy Elliot
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Billy Elliot More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Masterful coming of age drama without sugar and soap.

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
4 March 2008

After revisiting this film again recently, I stick my chest out and state proudly that the film touches me on so many levels that my emotions go all over the shop. For a film that is in essence a feel good coming of age drama it is mightily impressive that the film never veers down that street known as sickly boulevard.

Set against the grim backdrop of the English Coal Miners strikes the film tackles an array of subjects, class struggles, fear of homosexuality, youthful adventure in discovering potential adulthood, and the universal joy that music and dance can bring to us all, even in the most trying of circumstances. So many great scenes here that are both happy and sad, Billy's father feels he has to break the strike to give Billy a chance in life, this leads to a truly heartbreaking scene between him and his eldest son, I weep unashamedly at the realism of it all, the dancing is just wonderful, with too many great scenes to only pick just one out, the film is a seamless classic that ticks every box that I personally require from a film like this.

The cast are magnificent, Jamie Bell perfectly layers the lead role of Billy by fusing confusion, joy, fear, hope, and sorrow into one almighty performance. Julie Walters is up to her usual standard of greatness, whilst Gary Lewis as the father is nothing short of tremendous, they all can take a bow for making such a wonderful movie. The soundtrack is music gold, you can never have enough T-Rex in your life, ever, and I ask if there has ever been a more appropriate use of music than the use of The Jam's-Town Called Malice? Paul Weller's up tempo beat belies it's sombre lyrics, the song is about a town besieged by unemployment, a great scene accompanies the song as Billy dances out his frustrations down the street; "you either cut down on the beer or the kids new gear, it's a big decision in a town called Malice".

Brilliant! Maybe I'm biased because I remember the miners strikes, a sad and desperate time for the industry that was about to go under, perhaps I love it for the sheer sympathy the characters garner, or could it just be that it's an incredibly human story that is laid out fantastically well with an ending that demands a positive response from the viewer? Either way it rates 10/10 for me and it always will.

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16 out of 25 people found the following review useful:


Author: harrietgate from Yorkshire lady in Canada
25 June 2003

Does anyone else weep unashamedly at the climactic leap of "Swan Lake" at the end? Watching this in North America makes me homesick for the high standard of British films, including magnificent editing. What a lovely change from a lot of the overhyped violent/offensive rubbish and other drivel that is foisted on us...

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Truly Amazing!

Author: gardnerj-3 from Australia
26 March 2006

This film came out, when I was younger, I was too young to understand and relate to the movie- I was only 10. Now I am 15, it was on TV last night; I was in aw throughout the whole movie. I couldn't believe that this movie existed when I was alive-- and it was out on the selves in the DVD shop down the road. I think I was living under a rock.

I forgot how to cry before I watched this movie.

I come from a wealthy, high class family in Australia. I go to a private school and I am not usually around people with broken homes or around people in a low socio-economic area. I am blinded by the people around me about the depression and horrible taunts of people with limited needs. Very few movies actually make me think- this is a testament to that, showing that this movie has motivated me to write a comment on this website, so the whole world can see views.

This movie moved me in ways that I never thought something could. Since I am only young, I haven't experienced much in my life, while I am growing and I discovering new feelings and this movie has triggered one—it's become apart of me.

Showing that he came from a poor and broken family, and relished in his dream to become a ballet dancer and escape his born destiny to become a miner—it's just unbelievable.

Since I come from a wealthy family, with so many opportunities around me, it made me think about what I am taking for granted, this movie has changed me-- since Friday night I have watched it about 6 times over and over again. I am now taking in my life—this movie has showed me that, whatever I am in, or whoever I am, I can do anything that want to be-- a true genius movie

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

So You Think You Can Dance

Author: evanston_dad from United States
13 July 2010

Brisk and sprightly movie about a little boy growing up in a working-class English village who wants to train for ballet, much to the displeasure of his dad.

Jamie Bell gives a tremendous performance as Billy, an angry youngster who doesn't understand why he should be ashamed of something he loves, particularly since that something gives him a means of expression for his juvenile frustration and anger. The other standout is Julie Walters, spectacular as Billy's firecracker of a dance instructor. A scene in which she and Billy dance together, giving wild vent to their love of the art form, is the film's highlight.

Grade: A

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful, honest, touching, poignant- a truly remarkable film

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
2 February 2010

This movie is such a good film for a number of reasons. As a study of daring to be different in the fact of intractable tradition, Billy Elliot is beautiful, touching, poignant and very honest. It does start off slowly, but the film does have a lot of heart. Firstly, I liked the story, a young boy who wishes to ballet dance against the the backdrop of the 1984 miner's strike, it was a nice one and is likely to evoke some emotion. Stage director Stephen Daldry makes his feature debut here, and succeeds pretty much brilliantly. Another strong asset was the writing, while funny in places, it is also quite touching. Then the music, I loved hearing the music Tchaikovsky's timeless ballet "Swan Lake", such a melancholy yet enchanting and haunting score. But really the best asset of the film is the acting. Jamie Bell gives a really believable performance in the lead role, while Gary Lewis is marvellous as his dad. The acting honours though go to the brilliant Julie Walters as Billy's chain smoking dance instructor, that role especially proves what a fine actress Walters is. In conclusion, I loved this film. 9.5/10 Bethany Cox

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

wonderful, simple story

Author: jane1henders from United Kingdom
3 April 2005

What a treat to see on DVD a film which I loved from the second it began with its tacky 70's style music. the boy is so innocent and his family irritated me at first but then i began to really understand what was going on. I thought the only bad thing was the cliché stuff with the people who interviewed Billy. Otherwise, fabulous. If Biritish movie were more like this I would go more to see them when they first come out. I am new to this experience and am trying to see films which are a bit different to the normal Hollywood stuff. I liked the feeling that I was able to recognise the world of Billy - it seemed familiar although I was brought up very conventionally. The photography was special and i absolutely adored the scenes at the end in the theatre. I cried. Lovely film.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Waited much too long before seeing this film

Author: MiSoOtt
16 February 2005

Somehow I fell into the trap that this film tackles. Prejudices against ninny ballet dancers. What could be great about an 11 year-old boy from straight British coal miners background who dreams of becoming the new Fred Astaire? But finally the DVD made its way to the player and I must confess I was electricised. The intensity of the acting as well as that of the pictures, the discrepancy between the lost coal miners hopes and the subtle positivism ingrained in the stubborn boy, the subtle humor, all lack of arrogance .... it just all matched. Well told story, straight to the heart without any "kitsch" - a pure pleasure to watch and receiving my full recommendation, even though this 2000 flic may not be one the front pages any more.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good film

Author: michellewindynam from U.S.
2 February 2012

To say that Billy Elliot is the best movie of 2000 is to damn it with faint praise, since this year's crop is pretty uninspiring. Better to compare it to movies of the past few years, and even then it would stand out. It is a phenomenally good film, and perhaps even groundbreaking in its own way, since it goes against the trend of quirky, violent, sex-obsessed movie-making that's become so popular recently. We've finally been given a film with a good, almost mythic story, complicated yet believable characters, a masterful blend of emotional intensity and critical restraint, and a series of dance scenes that are authentic, inspiring and completely integral to the plot.

No wonder critics have been falling over themselves in heaping praise on Billy Elliot. No wonder it's been holding its own in the box office despite being shown in a mere handful of theatres (one-quarter to one- sixth as many as the big Hollywood blockbusters) and despite its receiving hardly any promotion at the moment. Its success is being driven by word of mouth. And what is the word? Here is a movie that appeals to your heart, head, funny bone, eyes and ears, and last but not least your feet, for the music and the movement will have you wanting to get up and dance. And it achieves all of this without insulting the intelligence. I sometimes wonder how the movie would have been done by Hollywood: Billy would have been made a more pathetic figure; the people in his life rendered more black and white; characters would have either remained caricatures, or made to develop in the blink of an eye. All such excesses are avoided in Billy Elliot, where the characters develop in a totally believable way, where Billy invites admiration instead of pity, and where the silences, looks and gestures all leave so much to the imagination. The dictum "Less is more" is clearly the guiding principle behind the film.

The buzz for Billy has been so positive that people sometimes come away disappointed that their lives haven't been changed. So don't go expecting a "knock 'em dead" Hollywood roller-coaster. Billy Elliot is far more subtle, though the emotional moments are all the more powerful because of that. You can however believe everything that has been said of Jamie Bell. He has an outstanding screen presence and carries the movie on his little shoulders with breath-taking naturalism. His dancing is honest and powerful, and very masculine. He makes you forget that all the other actors give the performances of their careers in support. If the Oscar were awarded without consideration for age, career, box office draw or Hollywood clout, Jamie and his movie would win hands down.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sooo much energy

Author: jakimiku from Tartu, Estonia
27 March 2010


this is easily the best dance movie i have ever seen. Little Jamie Bell has so much energy and charisma that it's just unbelievable.

The film is about finding your passion (oy, it shows that ballet is no homo, even if your best mate is) and about your parents realizing and accepting it. The key is never to let go of your visions and dream big. And hey, who in a million years would choose boxing or wrestling over dance? That's my question of the day.

Dance to express. And that's all Billy does. Unleashing all the pain and negative energy by dancing, Billy manages to impress everyone, and finally fulfil his dream of becoming a real ballet dancer. Because dancers are athletes, just like all the boxers and football players who dwell in that little mining town.

The actors do very well, especially Billy and his family. I'm not even going to tell about Julie Walters, brilliant as ever. Jackie Elliot is so dominant and powerful, i would certainly not dare to cross him as a father in this film. "Boys don't do ballet! Arghhhh!" All in all, Billy Elliot is an excellent watch, refreshing, touching, emotional, sensible, funny and has heart. I could go on for another hundred words. "I feel like flying, like a bird, like electricity." That's all dancing is about. I really liked this movie. Big time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Billy Elliot" grounds the magic and passion of dancing into reality

Author: Movie_Muse_Reviews from IL, USA
31 August 2009

Dancing, passion and familial struggle are all tied together in the high-spirited "Billy Elliot," the little independent film that could in 2000, when such films were drastically under- appreciated. "Billy Elliot" caught some attention however because it combines the dream-like fancy-free spirit of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films along with the social-historical context of the '80s coal miner strike in England. Youthful optimism and social reality are at odds as seen through the young Billy (a very talented Jamie Bell) and the film doesn't let either one completely win out, an admirable and unexpected quality for a story about a child.

Pre-teen Billy lives in a small England town where his father (Gary Lewis) and brother (Jamie Draven) are picketing as part of the coal miner's strike, so money is scarce. His father then becomes especially angry to find out Billy's been taking the money he was supposed to be using to pay for boxing lessons for ballet instruction instead. Despite his father's disapproval at his son taking up a "girl's" activity, Billy meets regularly with Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters) to prepare for the Royal Ballet School audition.

The feature film debut for both writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldry, "Billy Elliot" is a real triumph of art imitating life. In a stroke of inspired creativity, Billy dances when he feels it, when he needs to express emotions of anger or excitement or when he was something to prove. Scenes are intercut often to show how Billy's drive to master ballet is indicative of a need for self-discovery, family approval and learning how to handle life's challenges.

With a soundtrack mixing '70s English rock band T-Rex with classical music and orchestration by 1999 Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck, "Billy Elliot" takes on this true independent spirit. It's far from the cheesy uplifting string music of an inspirational drama and more true to its historical context. Its much easier to sympathize with Billy's yearning for movement and his description of "electricity" in terms of how dance makes him feel with modern music.

Billy's dancing outburst scenes give the film the feel of a dance musical movie ala the Fred Astaire era of Hollywood, while his angry and emotionally withdrawn father as well as Billy's own fits of irrational anger ground the movie in the struggles that surround the Elliot family on a daily basis.

The film is also not a social commentary on gender roles despite the conflict of Billy wanting to dance and his father wanting him to box. Billy takes an unexplained interest in dancing and doesn't exhibit any "homosexual" tendencies. This is about doing something you're passionate about, not a child's struggle with his gender identity. Billy's cross-dressing friend is there to remind us that one thing is not connected to the other, but the film doesn't waste time overdramatizing this small conflict in a greater story.

"Billy Elliot" is a special film, one that perfectly fits the magic of finding one's passion within the troubles of real life and a cast that accurately reflects that vision from Daldry and Hall. It acknowledges that with good comes bad and with reward and hard work comes nervousness and discomfort. It's a unique outlook for a movie based about a young boy and his dreams. ~ Steven C

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