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Billy Elliot is about a boy who wants to dance. More than that, the movie is filled with surprising moments that take the movie enjoyable. Even if you are not a fan of dancing, the movie touches on human desire. A young man only knows he is happy when he dances. The ending is perfect, having everything come together. The movie touches on issues of sex, gender, class, and in the end, having our dreams come true when nothing else in the world makes sense.
How interesting could a movie about a boy who gives up boxing to become
a ballet dancer be? Actually, the answer is - very! This took me by
surprise. It's well acted and well written, and presents an interesting
look not just at Billy's (Jamie Bell) struggle to succeed in ballet but
also a good historical overview of the Coal Miner's strike during the
Thatcher era from the perspective of an affected family (Billy's.)
Billy's widowed father Gary Lewis and brother Jamie Draven are striking
miners, and neither are interested in having a ballet dancing "puff" in
the family. We get to watch their attitudes change, however, as both
realize that ballet could be Billy's ticket out of the wretched life
they've been forced to lead.
This truly was a pleasure to watch. (One warning for North American viewers, though - the accents are at times a bit thick and hard to follow.)
I finally saw this film last night and after reading some of the previous comments here, decided to add my own take on the film. Folks, if you can't stand some straight-forward messages, then don't bother watching movies at all. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a feel-good movie with realistic characters, then Billy Elliot is the one for you. The final sequence of the film is spectacular. Someone else mentioned that they couldn't understand how an 11-year-old boy could have angst. Hey, try losing your mother (who sounds like one of the few people who understood Billy) at age 10 or 11 while your father and brother are distant and unsympathetic--and then see if you might not have a little angst, too! I thought that the young boy who plays Billy did a marvelous job in his portrayal--we need to see more of him in the future!
Anybody that appreciates life, would enjoy this movie.
It's a story that has everything in it.
Great friendships, and family. Good movie, with good acting.
A child that has a dream, that is encouraged, by friends and family.
This movie pulls off its plot like few can. It is perfect for anyone. Despite the language, I would definitely recommend it to families. It's funny, sad, and satisfying all in all. Stuart Wells' portrayal of Billy's homosexual friend is both hilarious but heart-warming and understanding like few people have ever been able to achieve with a character containing such attributes. See this movie!!
`Billy Elliot,' one of 2000's best films, is far more than just the typical
coming-of-age story. It is a paean to all of us who have, at one time or
another, felt ourselves to be `different' from society as a whole (and who
among us, in moments of quiet honesty, would deny feeling this way at some
time or other in our lives?). `Billy Elliot' takes us back to that time in
our lives early adolescence - when we are just beginning to experience the
manifold wonders of the world, when we are just beginning to explore those
things which makes us feel good, and when we are just starting that long
process of self-discovery that will ultimately define who we are and what we
love. Such a journey can be an easy one if, for instance, that thing that
we choose to love happens to be socially acceptable i.e. football for boys
or cooking for girls but what if it isn't? What if, say, the focus of
attention for a young boy growing up in a poor English mining town happens
to be ballet dancing? Then growing up and staying true to oneself suddenly
become all that more challenging. If for no other reason, `Billy Elliot'
deserves credit for tackling and illuminating the tricky and sometimes
uncomfortable subject of adolescent gender-bending.
Billy is an 11-year old boy whose life provides little opportunity for warmth or joy. His father and brother are striking miners, his beloved mother has recently passed away and his maternal grandmother struggles with the disorientation that comes with advancing senility. The one ray of light in Billy's otherwise drab, humorless life is his fascination with the ballet class that meets in the same gym where he is supposed to be receiving his boxing lessons. One of the great joys of `Billy Elliot' comes in these early scenes as we see Billy going to enormous lengths to hide the truth of his activities, secreting his dancing shoes under his mattress or inside his trousers or absconding with a book on dancing from a local book mobile etc. Who among us can fail to identify with this sense that, if others discovered what we REALLY loved, we would quickly become a pariah, a misfit, an outcast? Haven't we all, at some time or other, secretly hidden objects that meant the world to us but that others just wouldn't understand if they saw we had them? Well, `Billy Elliot' reminds us that it is okay to be different, that indeed pursuing our goal whatever it is is the single most important step to achieving personal happiness.
In terms of plotting, there is not really much that is new here. The conflict-ridden lower class family, the recently dead mother, the feisty, sympathetic teacher who places all her faith in her young pupil, the initial reluctance on the part of the family and the community to accept Billy's dream and their ultimately yielding to his wishes these are all elements we have seen in films before. Yet, somehow, `Billy Elliot' never seems clichéd or derivative, partly because writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldry get the details of character and setting so right and partly because Jamie Bell delivers such a luminous, naturalistic performance as Billy. Thanks to Bell's subtle underplaying, Billy never comes across as precious or precocious. He is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary gift who is not afraid to ultimately stand up and defend his own originality. As the ballet instructor, Julie Walters conveys just the right combination of firm determination and openhearted compassion to make her a believable inspiration to her young charge. Gary Lewis, Jamie Draven and Jean Heywood are all excellent as Billy's father, brother and grandmother respectively.
The term `feel good movie' is often the kiss of death when it comes to encouraging the less sentimentally inclined among us to check out a film. But `Billy Elliot' really is a movie that could serve a salutary purpose. If it inspires even one parent to allow a child to fulfill his or her dream regardless of what it happens to be it may be one of those rare films that actually does some good in the world. Not bad for a little independent charmer like this one.
I can't help but give a little chuckle when I see our American cousins
struggling to identify the accents in this film. One reviewer said 'thick
Cockney', another even moaned about the lack of British talent uttering
English like the great Laurence Olivier! In short, if our American pals had
there way, we'd all be speaking like Dick Van Dyke did in Mary Poppins
(which is of course still an utterly brilliant film). Anyway, the as yet
unidentified Nothern accents aside (which I found very enjoyable) let's get
down to tearing this film apart!
Actually, I'm not going to tear it apart. It charmed me, despite it's often manufactured manuscript. Stories should progress naturally, sometimes this film was manufactured. When a writer writes, he does so from the guts. Often when film writers write, they are thinking mostly about the viewers guts; which is fine if you can do it well, but most often it feels like someone is wanting you to feel a certain emotion, and that's not very nice, or clever. Still, there are times when the feelings are genuine, like Billies family waiting for him to open the letter from London, or his father running to the Miner's hall to tell the good news. These were genuine highs, and they made the film, for me at least, worthwhile.
The much lauded and nominated film "Billy Elliott" is a slice of life flick about an 11 year old English boy who, to the dismay of his motherless working class coal mining family, chooses ballet over boxing as a pastime. The film is technically excellent, artistically well done, and follows the traditions of Hollywood film-making. The story is a pleasant mix of humor and pathos, not too deep, and palatable enough to make it an audience favorite. In addition to being just plain fun to watch, "BE" makes a few points about accepting people for who they are; about the undeniability of innate passion by artists; and about the sublimation of aggression through dance. Not a classic and somewhat over rated, the simple numbers prove "BE" is a box office favorite and an enjoyable watch for most. Kudos to the choreographer and Bell for some fun to watch and never seen before kookie, kid-like mixes of jazz, tap, ballet, and jigs.
Jamie Bell and Gary Lewis were perfectly cast as son and father. They
looked amazingly alike, and when they argued it was almost as if the same
person was arguing with himself.
It was a joy to see Julie Walters, who just doesn't seem to do enough films, in this movie. In some ways, she was playing the "professor" role from Educating Rita this time! We will be seeing more of her soon as she's been cast in the upcoming Harry Potter movie.
I also have to agree with the other commenter who noted the "R" rating-it's almost purely for language, and probably a little for brawling. This is the sort of movie that kids should see, preferably with their parents.
`Billy Elliot' is the newest british import billed to us. It is a pretty good one. The movie is about an 11 year old british lad who becomes fascinated with the art of ballet. Billy lives in a mining town with an abusive father, a selfish brother, and a zany grandmother. I guess that is enough for any young lad to go cookoo and put on a tutu. Newcomer Jamie Bell is definitely no acting `ding dong.' He just might dance away with an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Also, Julie Walters, who plays the chain smoking ballet instructor, might just waltz away with a Best Supporting Actress nomination herself. `Billy Elliot' did have a few falls though. For example, its concentration on the mining strike definitely did not strike it rich it to my liking. All in all, `Billy Elliot' is one that is worth a few bills to spend on and go check out. *** Average
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