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I almost made a fool of myself when I was going to start this review by saying " This movie reminded me of BILLY ELLIOT " but then I looked up the resume of screenwriter Lee Hall only to find out that he was the guy who wrote BILLY ELLIOT so it's Mr Hall who's making a fool of himself not me
Am I being a bit cruel on him ? No because Lee has something most other aspiring screenwriters from Britain don't have - He has his foot in the door , he has previously written a successful British movie that won awards and made money at the box office and what does he do next ? He gives the audience more of the same
Young Jimmy Spud lives on some kitchen sink estate . He is bullied at school and no one loves him . The only thing keeping him going is that he has aspirations to be a ballet dancer . No actually he has aspirations to be an angel but considering his household he may as well be a ballet dancer . He has a macho waster of a father who thinks " Ballet dancers are a bunch of poofs while his granddad says " Ballet dancers are as tough as any man you could meet . I remember seeing the Bolshoi ballet ... " Yup Ballet is a main talking point on a run down British council estate those days - NOT . Come to think of it neither is left wing politics which seems to be the sole preserve of middle class do gooders who live in nice big houses , so right away everything about this set up feels ridiculously false
Another major criticism is that this is a film that has no clue who it's trying to appeal to . I have often criticised Channel 4 for broadcasting movies at totally inappropriate times ( THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT at 6 am for example ) but they showed this at 2 am and for once they've got it spot on . Considering the story involves politics , ballet dancing ( Gawd I hate it ) lung cancer and poverty there's no way this can be deemed suitable for a family audience but since the main protagonist is an 11 year old child and features angels and ballet dancers ( Don't blame me if I seem obsessed with the subject - there was no need to refer to them ) there's not much here for an intelligent adult audience either .
Of course if Lee Hall had been told at the script development stage by the producers that he should write a story featuring a schoolboy and an angel and had flatly refused saying that he wanted to write about other themes and stories then I will apologise but throughout the movie you do get the feeling that once the film was completed it was going to be marketed to the exact same audience who enjoyed BILLY ELLIOT
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