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|Index||428 reviews in total|
This movie is a wonderful story of a young boy. The use of music is wonderful. Plus the integration of really life events helps this store even more. The characters are rich and have deep meaning. This is a have to see, plain and simple.
If you pick this movie up to rent, having never seen it, don't be fooled by the box-cover. Reading the back of the box will make you believe this is just one more cliche movie about a working-class son struggling to assert his dream to his coal mining father. Tremendous performances by all the major actors give this film incredible power. Billy Elliot is at once powerful and brilliantly lighthearted, handling its subject matter with just the right balance of humor and emotion.
The storyline worked for me although I was somewhat distracted by the less-than-stellar acting (except from Billy's dance instructor, who I thought did a great job). Nor could I accept the apparent change in relationships (father-son, brother-brother) that occurred near the end of the movie (could the settling of a bitter mining strike really re-engender such family love?). Also, I did not see the relevance of the minor homosexual sub-theme, which I felt was a distraction. But the soundtrack was good (well, the music was excellent - the northern English accent required some translation for me by my British-born wife). And I laughed a lot, sometimes almost to the point of tears, and that must be the ultimate test of a comedy.
I have to say that I approached this film with some trepidation. The subject
matter hardly filled me with enthusiasm - a young boy's quest against the
odds to become a ballet dancer.
What I got was a film which has given me some of the most memorable images from any film I've seen. Like the incredible dance sequence to T-Rex's "I Love to Boogie", with a startling display of footwork from Jamie Bell and Julie Walters.
Or the magnificently understated scene where Billy receives the letter from the Royal Ballet telling him whether or not he has been accepted for a scholarship. It was a moment that had me literally bursting into tears of emotion, so utterly, utterly convincing was it.
And the farewell scene at the Bus Station, with Jamie's Dad awkwardly hugging the gangling youngster. Sheer class.
Julie Walters gives a performance thoroughly deserving of her Oscar nomination, and Jamie Bell is a revelation. His performance was recognised at home with a BAFTA award for Best Actor, and it is a performance every bit as memorable as Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense. Dare I be so bold as to suggest that if young Jamie were an American, Russell Crowe would not have had a Best Actor look-in?
Even if you do not care for the idea of a young boy's interest in dance, you might give this movie a chance. If for no other reason, the soundtrack is fabulous, but the story is GREAT. It may even even shed new light on stereotypes! EVERYTHING in this movie is entertaining!! I watched it 3 times in one week and my appreciation for it only increased!
I was excited about seeing "Billy Elliot" after its Golden Globe attention, and I was very pleased with it overall. The film is wonderful, the acting is exceptional, the writing and directing, too, are terrific. Jamie Bell leads as Elliot in this story of an aspiring dancer, and does so with integrity and brilliance. By learning to dance for the difficult role, his performance was very believable and effective. His Oscar snub still stuns me. Julie Walters was stunning as the ballet teacher. Her tart mouth and sympathetic portrayal was one of the best performances of the year and her Oscar nomination was very deserving. Through the amazing performances, writing, and directing, "Billy Elliot" is a masterpiece not soon forgotten. 10/10 stars.
This is an excellent film... This movie is not really about dance or ballet... its about trying to understand what it was like to be a striking miner in the North of England in the 1980's and supporting your children to pursue their dreams.... Sure there is dance in the film......the kid is cute and talented... but the real star is the actor playing his father giving a magnificant performance..... All the actors do well but the formentioned is stunning ....and this film can make you laugh and cry ..and is worth at least an 8 out of 10.
This is the best movie I have ever seen. It had me crying, laughing, and cheering. This movie has something for everyone. Whether you can relate to Billy as an artist, a friend, a supporter, or a fan. Splendid performances by Julie Walters, Jamie Bell, and Gary Lewis help to make this film a winner. It touched my heart and warmed my soul. It had me dancing to the music in no time. Miss this spectacular production and you'll be sorry.The English accents make this movie all the better, but I have a thing for people with English accents. Rent this movie on video or buy it on DVD , get your family together, and watch BILLY ELLIOT today!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film "Billy Elliot" gets its name from the main character who was 12
years old. He is played marvelously by 14-yr-old Jamie Bell who was
discovered for this film by auditioning 2000+ boys who 1)could dance,
2)could act, 3)was the right age, and 4)who had the correct NE English
accent. Bell is so good, with the great and sincere smile or the brooding,
angry face, depending on the demands of the scene. He may become a
wonder, but in this film he is nothing short of award quality. No question,
even though the movie is filled with fine, experienced British actors,
Bell carries this film, and that is remarkable for a first-timer!
CAUTION -- FOLLOWING MAY CONTAIN A SPOILER OR TWO --
The story is set in 1984, in the coal-mining (the pits) area of northeast England. Workers are on strike and Margaret Thatcher is bound to "break" them, which she eventually does. Billy's mother has recently died, and he now shares a flat with his caring but overtly tough father, his older brother, and his half-demented grandmother. Times are tough, no one is working in this coal-mining community, angry picketers curse and throw things at the buses of "scabs" crossing the line.
Billy is in boxing training, but in the ring, wearing his grandfather's old gloves, begins to dance around, seems that dancing is just in his blood. Much later in the movie he explains, at the end of an audition, "I just feel like electricity when I am dancing. I become someone else." One punch decks him in this bout.
Billy quite accidently becomes aware of the ballet class at the other end of the floor (British pronounce ballet as if it were spelled 'bally'), gets interested, and is encouraged by the older lady instructor. She quickly recognizes Billy's talent and encourages him to continue.
Two problems -- there is no extra money around for 'bally' lessons and 2) his dad is horrified at the thought that his son might become a 'bally dancer', also afraid that he might become a homosexual. Their men box, play football, etc, but dance?? No way. So Billy has to practice his dance positions secretly, and sneak out to dance practice, his dad thinking he is still boxing. Until the boxing guy says he hasn't seen Billy in weeks!
So dad shows up at 'bally' practice and spots Billy among the girls, and you can see him fuming, his face turning red, and pulls Billy out. But Billy keeps on, on his own. On another occasion dad catches him in the dance studio again. This time Billy stands 6 inches (15 cm) from his dad, almost nose-to-nose, defiant face, and begins to dance. All over the room, all kinds of moves, tap, modern, 'bally' -- and stops in front of dad, who then realizes both how much his son loves 'bally' and how much talent he has.
Eventually Billy gets an audition in London, where dad had never even been, gets accepted, strike ends, dad is determined to see that his son gets the schooling he deserves. Before Billy leaves, he and dad are talking, warmly, and Billy asks, "If I change my mind I can come home, can't I?" Dad answers, "But I've already 'let out' your room." They both laugh.
The movie ends 13 years later, Billy is 25, and his dad goes to London to see him dance as the featured performer. All we get is a quick shot of him being told his dad is there, then leaping on stage. If I were a 'bally' fan I could tell from the costume which 'bally' it was, but I am not.
Fine story, important time historically, families in crisis and Billy Elliot determined to pursue his dream. There is a fair amount of 'salty' language, from all characters, but it always seems to be in context with the film and how NE Englanders really spoke in 1984. I was not offended by it, but I suspect some viewers might be.
I hope to see this one again some day. I rate it a strong 8 of 10 and think most everyone would enjoy it. The DVD has a few extras, the most interesting being the "making of" with interviews of the various actors and director. The sound is DD 5.1 and mostly good. However, the quiet dialog and British accent forced me to "rewind" and re-listen to some to understand them. I also had to increase the volume 6dB which is quite a lot (4X sound level) compared to most other DVDs. So I give the sound only a C- overall. Still, this can be overcome and not a fatal flaw in an otherwise superb presentation.
Inspired by the actual events surrounding a strike by British coal-miners in the mid-eighties, "Billy Elliot" is the tale of Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), an eleven year-old boy who is slowly, but quickly attracted to ballet dancing and is taught by Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters), the chain-smoking dance instructor to become one himself despite that his grumpy Dad (Gary Lewis) and Billy's older brother, Tony (Jamie Draven) who once oppose Billy's dream before seeing the potential that Billy has. It's well-acted by all (notably Bell, Lewis, and especially Walters, who garned a Best Supporting Actress nomination), masterfully written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry, who both earned Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, the film is another innocent casualty of the MPAA, who has given it an "R" rating (and not "PG-13") although the F-word is mentioned several times, but it's used in a respectful manner and not carelessly. I honestly don't get it? Despite that fact, "Billy Eliot" is a real dandy that's without doubt one of the year's best.
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