Billy Elliot (2000) Poster

(2000)

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9/10
Sheer magic
Geofbob22 December 2005
Billy Elliott is a moving, uplifting, and often exuberant, drama about motherless young Billie (Jamie Bell) fulfilling his dream of becoming a ballet dancer, in the process overcoming the objections and prejudices of his father and brother (Gary Lewis and Jamie Draven).

It is also a piece of magic realism, with political overtones. By setting their near fairy tale in the context of a close-knit mining community, and more specifically against the backdrop of the 1984/5 miners' strike - a defining moment of modern British economic and social history - writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldry are able to refer to gender and class issues, without turning their work into a political tract, and without losing focus on the central human drama.

The film is realised near flawlessly. Bell achieves a convincing blend of adolescent bewilderment and defiance; if his dancing is not quite as good as we might expect, the storyline explains this away by saying that at this early stage his attitude and drive are more important than his technique. The dancing set pieces, clearly inspired more by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly than by Nijinksky, are performed with gusto, mainly to pop songs by T-Rex.

Lewis and Draven put gritty realism and passion into their roles of a father and son committed to their community and to the miners' cause. They make us feel their despair as they realise that this cause is lost; but also their endurance as they come to terms both with Billie's aspirations and their own uncertain futures - within a few years most UK coalmines would be closed. (The colliery in Easington, the real-life location of the film, closed in 1994.). The scenes of violence between strikers and police are presented uncompromisingly and authentically, but with the occasional touch of humour.

Julie Walters provides an outstanding performance as Mrs Wilkinson, the dancing teacher who recognises and fosters Billie's talent; and helps him resist his own and his family's inhibitions. She is perfect as the chain-smoking, straight-talking mentor, who has her own personal disappointments and hurts, which she hopes Billie's success will help heal. To we outsiders watching the movie, Mrs Wilkinson appears as an integral part of the local community; but it is made clear that in the mid-80s, as far as Billie's family and friends are concerned, she is a middle class outsider, almost as alien as another species.

One issue which the film tackles head-on is traditional heterosexual male abhorrence of homosexuality. This attitude clearly underlies the shock of Billie's father and brother when they discover his interest in ballet. They would be even more horrified if they realised that his best friend was discovering gay tendencies in himself. It is typical of the sensitive direction that without labouring the point the film indicates by its close that attitudes towards gays changed radically during the 1980s and 90s along with the industrial landscape.
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10/10
Simply excellent
Juni78ukr22 November 2004
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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a pleasure from start to finish
off.rails21 August 2000
With a seemingly run-of-the-mill storyline - that of an 11-year-old schoolboy wanting to be a ballet dancer - it is quite a feat to have made a movie as warm and entertaining as this.

Quite simply, this is the best British movie in years. All the characters are intriguing, and the acting is flawless, most notably from 14-year-old Jamie Bell whose acting is utterly convincing, filled with humour and insight beyond his years. He is also a fantastic dancer, and some of the dance sequences are reminiscent of the dance-filled musicals of the old black and white movies.

The backdrop of the historic miners' strike of the mid-1980s, it brings the story down to the earth and adds the necessary tension to make this film truly believable and a worthy story to tell.

I find it hard to see how anyone would not like this film. 9 and a half out of 10.
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Simply Fantastic
gershwin-36 January 2001
I went into this movie expecting to hate it, and found myself instantly smiling at the playful opening credits with Billy jumping on a trampoline. From there on it just got better and better. The wasn't even a minor character that I could say needed work. The cast as a whole was brilliant - and surprising at times. The father and brother come off as these one-sided brutal characters in the beginning and then as you watch, they become two of the most well constructed and acted characters this year and for who knows how long. Jaime Bell is brilliant for a first-timer and his dance is wonderful. There are also so many layers to the film. From brilliant cinematography to wonderful symbolism both in the script and in the music (listen for the tune Billy is playing on piano in the main score during the big moments). The music on a whole was brilliantly picked and I don't think a single element was overlooked or addressed. If you haven't seen this movie - GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND INTO THE THEATER! It is truly an experience that everyone should have and I hope to see more from this writer, director and a brilliant new face in Jaime Bell.
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10/10
Billy Elliot - The Class of 2000
robmillrs10 December 2000
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 moviemaking 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 rollercoaster. 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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9/10
Wonderful!
cooper-2920 January 2001
I had seen the commercials and they emphasize the dancing aspect of the story which is great but there is so much more to this movie. It deals with death and it touches on Mens feelings of loss and what a Man is and even deals a bit with homosexuality. Theres not many times where I sit though the end credits anymore but I was mesmorized. I laughed in this movie and I cried too. The dance scenes were terrific too. The boy who played Billy should get an award hands down for this movie. I watched the emotion on his face and it was amazing. This is the best breakout performance by a young boy since haley Joel Osmant in Sixth Sense. I have to say I just loved Julie Walters too. Where has she been since Educating Rita. Inspite of the swear words this is a movie that families should see. Its hard to believe this gets an R rating and movies like Scary Movie get...only R ratings. I dont get it. Strange that two of my favorite recent movies are from the British...This and Croupier. Word to Hollywood, make more movies like this or at lease import more like this. Dont miss this one!
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From Ugly Ducking to Beautiful Swan
Lady MoonDance11 October 2000
Billy Elliot is a truly inspirational movie. It reminds us of the human potential to transcend our economic surroundings and the expectations of society by doing something so simple, and yet sometimes so very difficult, as simply being ourselves.

Born in a socially and economically repressed mining town, Billy is told that boys box or wrestle; boys don't dance. But Billy loves to dance and does so every chance that he gets.

Does a love of ballet make you gay? Does it matter if your best friend is a crossdresser? How far will a father go when he realizes the truth about his son? This is a movie of change, growth and emotion, with characters and actors so real and fully developed that they pull your heart forth and place it firmly upon the screen. We literally feel the brittleness of judgement, the despair of lost hope, and the joy of acceptance.

It is easy to see why this small British film has won so many foreign awards and nominations, and I only hope it will be given the chance it deserves to inspire and transform US audiences as well.
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10/10
Masterful coming of age drama without sugar and soap.
Spikeopath4 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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A Triumph of Highly Charged Storytelling
Orson57 December 2000
Billy Elliot is by far the most honestly told depiction of middle boyhood I've seen in years, if ever. I was in joyful tatters at the end of this story of a boy struggling to stay true to his calling in an anguished northern English mining town circa 1980. Every working class character in this film is written and uncompromisingly played with great love and understanding of both family and class hardship. Personally I view this film as the finest piece of British "intimiste" cinema I've seen since Mike Leigh's "Secrets and Lies". Yet it has epic elements as well. Billy's personal story unfolds while his home town is occupied by uniformed British strike control forces.

This is a tale of inter-masculine struggle in a family and mining town almost devoid of (and yearning for) a balancing feminine presence. Billy's gift is slowly awakened in this stressed and violent male crucible. His relationships with his brother, his father, his genderally confused classmate, and his teacher all grow increasingly charged as the movie develops. For honesty and presence, Jamie Bell as Billy far surpasses Haley Joel Osment's debut in The Sixth Sense. And if that's not enough, Julie Walters, Gary Lewis and Jamie Draven as Billy's teacher, dad and brother are all heartbreakingly portrayed. All are perfectly cast and at the very top of their form.

After all these characters have passed through the warzone of the first and second acts, director Steven Daldry delivers perhaps the most perfectly executed third act I have seen in a family centered drama from England or elsewhere. There are countless insightful decisions Daldry makes in the course of this film that other directors will study for years to come. But they're all brought to touching and masterful closure in the third act segments.

Kudos to scenarist Lee Hall for an excellent script. It should also be noted that many of DP Brian Tufano's beautifully composed shots match those of the great Chinese and Italian cinematographers. The film is brash in its musical style and forthright in its language. It is a film of specifics and the locale is not dressed up. And unlike many other local color films from England since 1985, this film has a strong, eminently compassionate narrative spine. Many audience members in the show I attended were immobilized and overcome in their seats during credits.

Despite frequent profanity, boys 11 and up should be allowed to see Billy Elliot, if only to keep them from abandoning hope. If it helps even one oppressed and confused boy keep an ear to the faint voice within that might just be his true calling, this film will have been worth every dollar spent in its making. A truly uplifting film.
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9/10
A nearly flawless drama
pumpkinland200018 November 2000
This is one of those really great dramas that only come around maybe once a year. This is my pick for the best drama of 2000. Filled with amazing characters, a great plot, and circumstances that seem too real, the wonderfully underplayed value of it takes precedence over anything set against it.

There are some great performances here, so let's get to ‘em.

Jamie Bell plays the lead role, in an astonishing performance. Amazing dance routines done in perfect sync, I can just imagine the time he had memorizing all the steps. A knockout performance, with some of the most dramatic scenes played out with perfect honesty and realism.

Another notable performance comes from Julie Walters, who plays Mrs. Wilkinson, the dance instructor in the mining town where Billy lives. Once a great dancer but now forced to work in the bottom floor of a boxing hall, she plays her part wonderfully, showing the lack of compassion and jadedness without words but only through expressions, deep hurt lying beneath all that scorn, but love shining through as she sees Billy's true talent.

Finally, performance wise, we have Gary Lewis, who plays Billy's father. With wonderful scenes that play themselves out with harsh reality, I never tire of seeing the hurt in his eyes when he sees that his little boy isn't going to be a boxer or a football player, but a dancer, then seeing him again with the love and appreciation for his dancing son. Some things must be experienced, and the deep hurt he carries about the death of his wife is one of those. Greatness all around.

The one problem I did have with this movie is that it is first of all rated R. Why?! If it weren't for the few (and very effective) uses of the 'F' word, it would've gotten a PG-13 rating. It so strongly needs the 'F' word, yet it needs to be seen by a PG-13 audience! This is a move that truly should be shown to middle schoolers all over the country, showing that you should believe in yourself and no one else. Follow your dreams. Not only is this message not shoved down your throat (as some other movies shamelessly do), but it is done in such a way that you truly believe it. You want good things to happen, and you get that, but not spotless and clean. Nothing is done easily, and there will always be someone who will try and stop your dreams from coming true.

Another (and the only other problem) are the accents. The British definitely have a style of speaking all their own, and it sometimes took a moment for all the dialogue to register. Sometimes I'd miss half a scene, trying to decipher out exactly what was said. However, the tones and emotions of most scenes were enough to let you know what was said. Everything didn't have to be spelt out, but I can imagine that after I get this DVD I will sit down with the captions on, just to know I didn't miss anything. This is one of the only complaints I have for another favorite of mine, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Billy Elliot is a true rag-to-riches story that unfolds amazingly well without pulling your heartstrings shamelessly as other movies love to do. I recommend this to all, expect to be entertained with great plot twists as well as interesting characters, wonderful dialogue, and a story that can never grow old: Follow your dreams.
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10/10
A wonderful example of good quality writing, acting and art
asalzman7 January 2001
Billy Elliot is a wonderful story of a young boy overcoming obstacles to participate in the one activity that takes him away from his troubled family life. By dancing, Billy unleashes his frustrations, yet also receives much criticism by participating in a less than macho sport. Every aspect of this movie was well done: the acting was superb, the characters were complex but believable, but the cinematography alone takes the cake. The cameras look at things from some very interesting and unusual views. Every shot was well planned out and every item in the background had importance.

This is one of the best movies I've seen recently and one that definitely shouldn't be missed by anyone that believes in following his or her dreams.
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9/10
Beautiful, honest, touching, poignant- a truly remarkable film
TheLittleSongbird2 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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10/10
Truly Amazing!
gardnerj-326 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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10/10
Unforgettable
harrietgate25 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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8/10
So You Think You Can Dance
evanston_dad13 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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9/10
wonderful, simple story
jane1henders3 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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8/10
Waited much too long before seeing this film
MiSoOtt16 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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9/10
Good film
michellewindynam2 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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8/10
Sooo much energy
jakimiku27 March 2010
Wow...

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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9/10
"Billy Elliot" grounds the magic and passion of dancing into reality
Movie_Muse_Reviews31 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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8/10
lets dance with me....
Stephen Daldry is one of my favorite directors... The hours was his 1st work I saw and that made me cry...The Reader was also emotionally intense and i loved that too..... I bought this movie on DVD a long ago and watched it just now and I feel i had missed a very good movie. I recommend this movie to every one.Every one who has aim,goal and bad circumstances. Performance of Jamie was excellent he deserved Oscar nod. Inshort its a very well directed movie with a nice subject. Thumbs Up. AS Critic: 85/100 General : 90/100 Every parent should watch it.The movie has unique direction and it deserves TOP 250. Ending could've better thats all my opinion on the whole movie. This is one of the most precious movies of all the time.
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10/10
A very successful film.
Warning: Spoilers
Billy Elliot is a heart-warming tale that brings out sadness, anger and laughter captivating the viewer throughout the whole film. There is an obvious musical, comedy and drama theme, as seen in The Full Monty and East is East, this makes it fun to watch and appealing to all ages. The poster used to promote the film is successful in setting the story, targeting all audiences while making it seem interesting. Jamie Bell plays Billy, a fiery, emotional and possibly confused character who is still grieving over the tragic death of his mother. The director, Stephen Daldry, was definitely looking for a 'raw talent' to play this diverse and intriguing young boy; seeing as Jamie had little acting experience and no dancing knowledge, he must have seemed perfect to play the role. All of the actors live up to expectations, especially Julie Walters who comes from the other end of the spectrum, being very popular and with years of experience. She fits into her character's personality instantly because she plays many 'motherly' roles, such as Molly Weasley in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince and Aunt Betsy Trotwood in David Copperfield. Daldry seems to enjoy producing or directing films in the drama genre, he directed The Reader and another short film Eight, which features the same kind of journey Billy Elliot undertakes; having to cope with the loss of a parent and discovering a new interest that changes their life. As well as this, Billy is constantly in disagreement with his father who deals with his grief in an extremely aggressive way. He is also involved in the miner's strike that severely affected the family's income and interferes with Billy's aspirations. The saddening situations make the viewer sympathise with Billy, and to a certain extent; his family.

Brian Tufano and his crew are very talented in deciding what camera angles and type of shots to use in certain scenes. For example; being able to portray emotions through angles of the camera and make a scene look better on camera than it does when filming. This is also enhanced by editing techniques used by John Wilson and the editorial team. They provide a gentle transition from one scene to another without losing the storyline and in some parts, the mood of particular scenes change so rapidly, the viewer is taken aback. Without editing, this film would not have been achieved to such a high standard and would not have been as successful in emphasising emotions and events. The colour also compliments the film and the period, with nothing too bright and the interiors of the houses typical to the 1980's with patterned wallpaper and frosted glass. Stephen Warbeck uses T.Rex's catchy 'I Love to Boogie' to begin the film. Other artists such as Stephen Gately, Eagle-Eye Cherry, The Clash, The Jam and The Style Council also feature in the film. Most of the sounds are diegetic, which enables the film to be more realistic to the audience; however, the few non-diegetic parts do not detract from the scenes. Set in the mid 1980's in a small estate with all families on a similar income, it reminds the people aged between the ages of 30 and 40 who may have experienced the affects of the minor strike had on the community. While appealing to the older audience, the story still interests teenagers, especially the youths who enjoy dance. There is a comical aspect to this film, for example, when Billy is attempting a 'pirouette' in the bathroom (to make sure his father doesn't find out about the ballet lessons) but fails miserably falling in the bath and soaking himself. In addition, Billy's friend, Michael Caffrey played by Stuart Wells, is discovered by Billy to be dressed up in his sister's clothes and putting make-up on, obviously hinting at his homosexuality. Billy is encouraged to attend boxing sessions by his father who had been taught that he needed to be masculine to get somewhere in the world, but this is something that Billy doesn't want to pursue. Julie Walters plays Mrs Wilkinson, an average but troubled ballet teacher who persuades Billy to join a class, something that Billy knew his father would be fuming about. Walter's character seems to be disappointed in herself for not being good enough to make a successful career in ballet, so she tries to channel that frustration through to her female students that simply don't have that spark of talent. However, Billy Elliot does show an indescribable something that she knows could take him to a future that she hoped for, but only with the right training. Because of this, she provides the role of a mother as well as a coach for Billy; this automatically makes the viewer have a respected opinion of her. All the characters, especially Julie Walters, perfected the language and accent that is needed to professionalise the film. This would have proved difficult to some who have had no experience of speaking in a Northeastern accent because it is such a vital aspect. Jamie Bell was at an advantage because he came from a similar area and already had the blunt and sometimes comic accent. However, it may be difficult for people who do not recognise this style of speech and they may not be able to relate to the film as well as people who are familiar with it. Despite some minor errors, the film was loved by the public, and praised by the critics. It shows that being a dancer is more difficult than first expected, and is in some ways deemed to be similar to the physically exhausting mining job his father does. In my opinion, Billy Elliot is an extremely successful film and many feel that it is 'the best British movie for years'.
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10/10
Outstanding!
Sir-Galahad15 March 2001
What else can be said about this film? I just would like to thank God for letting me watch it. It's one of those films that might be considered "soul food". I don't want to talk about all the acting stuff; my only intention is to set my feelings here, and I must be honest: I'm not the same since i watched it. Something has changed inside of me. I wouldn't be able to say exactly what, or how, but my soul has been shaken, and I can see things different, as if "Billy Elliot" had opened my eyes. It's very hard for me to put it in words, my intention is to show people that when things are made with all our hearts, they cannot be but rejoicing and delightful. And this film is the best proof of that, fulfilling all the possible expectations. Thank God again (and, of course, thank the cast and all the staff!), and if you haven't watched it yet, your life is incomplete, sure it is!
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7/10
Finding beauty
delibebek27 August 2009
"Billy Elliot" isn't about a boy wanting to dance. It isn't about a miners' strike in the mid-1980s. These are only the elements which happen to be chose to tell this story. The story is about finding beauty in the world, finding it despite the chaos and conformity that surrounds youth.

Billy, through the course of the movie, struggles to find his own direction in life at a very young age. It's quite easy to understand this because of the choices of setting and character made for the sake of the story.

Billy is relatively young, making him subject to the pressures of his father and older brother. The time and place of the story, with police riot squads being a fixture on the streets, underscores the difficulty in being drawn to ballet, an activity not considered fitting among his family and peers. Still he pursues his passion.

The performances paint the picture perfectly. They are convincing and compelling renditions of the characters in this light, enjoyable drama.
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9/10
Brilliant social commentary...
mikeupd22 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This film must rank along with the 'angry young men' films of the 1960s for it's gritty subject material and portrayal. Set again the background/backdrop of working mens struggle to do the only job they have and the gradual acceptance of the family towards the sons ballet classes. This should be compulsory viewing for all those studying English/UK 20th Century social history along with many other gritty Northern England socio-documentary style films such as 'Brassed Off.' The Transporter Bridge at Middlesborough, a piece of wonderful engineering, gets a look in also. The old Newcastle 'National Express' coach station also shown. Such an emotional finale... In my top ten UK films.
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